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They strove to make a 
new Eden of the Moon! 

A Complete Short Novel 


JUNE • 1964 











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JUNE, 1964 • Vol. 22, No. 5 




by Poul -Anderson 



by Arthur Sellings 


by Damon Knight 


By J. W. Groves 



by Philip Jose Farmer 


by Gordon R. Dickson 


by Roger Zelazny 


by Harry Harrison 


by Ben Bova & Myron R. Lewis 


by Willy Ley 


by Frederik Pohl 


Cover by McKenna from TO BUILD A WORLD 




Science Editor 




Production Manoaer 




Subscription Mgr. 

GALAXY MAGAZINE is published 

bi-monthly by Galaxy Publishing 
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Elsewhere $3.50 Second class 
postage paid at New York. *i Y. 
and at additiona' mailing of- 
fices. Copyright New York 
1964. by Galaxy Publishing 
Corporation, Robert M. Guinn, 
President. All rights, including 
translations reserved All ma- 
terial submitted must De ac- 
companied by self-addressed 
stamped envelopes. The pub- 
lisher assumes no responsibili- 
ty for unsolicited material. 
Al: stories printed in this 
magazine are fiction, ano any 
similarity between characters 
and actual persons is coin- 
cidental . 

Printed in the U. S. A. 

By The Guinn Co., Inc. N. Y. 
Title Reg. U S Pat Off 

All We Unemployed 

\ couple of months ago in 
these pages we discussed the 
technological revolution called 
automation, a word which has 
frightened millions of Americans. 
As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote 
more than one hundred years 
ago — 

The majority of the people 
do not clearly see what they 
have to gain by a revolution, 
but they continually and in a 
. thousand ways feel that they 
might lose by one. 

One of the advantages of read- 
ing science fiction is that it ac- 
customs one to the long view. 
Naturally we can see the advan- 
tages of automation; they have 
been spelled out for us by a 
hundred writers over a period 
of decades. We know perfectly 
well that in the long run auto- 

mation is what will make our 
grandchildren as much richer 
than we as we are than the 


Of course, in the long run — 
as John Maynard Keynes told 
Franklin Roosevelt — we are all 

What is quite certain in the 
short run is that automation is 
going to put a lot of people out 
of work, and the equally certain 
corollary of that fact is that they 
will not like having this happen. 
It will happen all the same, of 
course. Competition will see to 
that. But what are we going to 
do about millions of damaged 

I n the event, we should be able 
to put quite a lot of sugar- 
coating on the unemployment 
pill; and as a matter of fact, we 
have already done so. 



p—ssw;- 'V , » s 1 , " , ' — i 

ese great minds were Rosicrucians 

Benjamin Frankl 

' Isaac Newton 

Francis Bacon 


tmv these men great? 
How does anyone — man or woman — achieve 
greatness? Is it not by mastery of the powers 
within ourselves ? 

Know the mysterious world within you ! Attune 
yourself to the wisdom of the ages! Grasp the 
inner power of your mind ! Learn the secrets of a 
full and peaceful life ! 

Benjamin Franklin, statesman and inventor. .. 
Isaac Newton, discoverer of the Law of Gravita- 
tion . . . Francis Bacon, philosopher and scientist 
. . . like many other learned and great men and 
women . . . were Rosicrucians. The Rosicrucians 
(NOT a religious organization) have been in 
existence for centuries. Today, headquarters of 
the Rosicrucians send over seven million pieces 
of mail annually to all parts of the world. 


San Jose 


California, U.S.A. 


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tery of 1 Life” — 
§ TOQAY. No ob- 
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which explains hpw I may learn to use my faculties 
and powers of mind. 



How many unemployed would 
you guess there are in the Unit- 
ed States today? Five or six 
million, as the census figures 

Not by a long shot! There are 
at least double that, and maybe 
far more. Add to those who are 
out of work and looking for 
work those who are equally out 
of work, but aren’t looking. The 
over-65 retired persons. The wid- 
ows living on insurance or pen- 
sions. The divorcees living on 
alimony. The beneficiaries of 
stock-retirement plans. Add in a 
large section of the student popu- 
lation of our colleges and even 
our high schools; add in, in fact, 
every man and woman able to 
work but at present not actually 
working, whether or not he or 
she really wants to find a job — 
for these are as technologically 
unemployed as any Massachu- 
setts shoemaker. We don’t have 
jobs for them. The difference is 
simply that they are bought off 
instead of laid off, by the enor- 
mous productive capacity of the 
20th century. 

And don’t forget to add in all 
the “made” jobs — the composi- 
tors setting “bogus” type that 
.has no destiny but to be set, 
proofread, corrected and melted 
down ; the government employees 
in arsenals and training camps 
that exist only because a Con- 
gressman won’t let them be phas- 


ed out; add in, in short, everyone 
whose work performs no real 
function except to aid in the 
distribution of our surpluses. 
These too are as unemployed as 
any West Virginia miner on the 
dole; but their dole takes a more 
attractive form. 

And there is probably a lot 
more of it. 

r T''he surplus work force re- 
* leased by automation doesn’t 
have to stagnate on a dole. It 
can be put to work. Maybe it 
can even be put to work on 
things that are worth doing . . . 
worth doing not because some- 
one can make a profit out of 
them, or because they enhance 
a national image, or because Oat- 
flake County asks for a payroll 
under a distressed areas bill, 
but because . . . well, “because 
they are there.” 

For that reason, those Con- 
gressmen who criticize the space 
projects because of their tremen- 
dous cost — and in the next 
breath vote funds for a highway 
that leads from nowhere in par- 
ticular to nothing at all — have 
always baffled us. 

After all, if we’re going to pay 
people to do jobs that don’t 
really accomplish anything . . . 
why not hire some of them to 
help us toward the stars? 



of the BEASTS 


Man had exterminated them aft 
— now they were being reborn I 

Hphe biologist was showing the 
-*■ distinguished visitor through 
the zoo and laboratory. 

“Our budget,” he said, “is too 
limited to re-create all known 
extinct species. So we bring to 
life only the higher animals, the 
beautiful ones that were wanton- 
ly exterminated. I’m trying, as 
it were, to make up for brutality 
and stupidity. You might say 

that man struck God in the face 
every time he wiped out a 
branch of the animal kingdom.” 
He paused, and they looked 
across the moats and the force 
fields. The quagga wheeled and 
galloped, delight and sun flash- 
ing off his flanks. The sea otter 
poked his humorous whiskers 
from the water. The gorilla 
peered from behind bamboo. 


Passenger pigeons strutted. A 
rhinoceros trotted like a dainty 
battleship. With gentle eyes a 
giraffe looked at them, then re- 
sumed eating leaves. 

“There’s the* dodo. Not beauti- 
ful but very droll. And very help- 
less. Come. I’ll show you the 
re-creation itself.” 

In the great building, they 
passed between rows of tall and 
wide tanks. They could see clear- 
ly through the windows and the 
jelly within. 

“Those are African elephant 
embryos,” said the biologist. 
“We plan to grow a large herd 
and then release them on the 
new government preserve.” 

“You positively radiate,” said 
the distinguished visitor. “You 
really love the animals, don’t 

“I love all life.” 

“Tell me,” said the visitor, 
“where do you get the data for 

“Mostly, skeletons and skins 
from the ancient museums. Ex- 
cavated books and films that we 

succeeded in restoring and then 
translating. Ah, see those huge 
eggs? The chicks of the giant 
moa are growing within them. 
These, almost ready to be taken 
from the tank, are tiger cubs. 
They’ll be dangerous when 
grown but will be confined 
to the preserve.” 

The visitor stopped before the 
last of the tanks. 

“Just one?” he said. “What is 

“Poor little thing,” said the 
biologist, now sad. “It will be 
so alone. But I shall give it all 
the love I have.” 

“Is it so dangerous?” said the 
visitor. “Worse than elephants, 
tigers and bears?” 

“I had to get special per- 
mission to grow this one,” said 
the biologist. His voice quavered. 

The visitor stepped sharply 
back from the tank. He said, 
“Then it must be . . . But you 
wouldn’t dare!” 

The biologist nodded. 

“Yes. It’s a man.” 



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from 1960 to date, our Back Number Department has a limited 
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Send dates and title of issues you wish with remittance to Galaxy 
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You can't execute a man for 
a crime he didn't know he 
was committing — can you? 

nphe Director of the crossroads 
*- world of Duhnbar had no oth- 
er name, nor needed any; and 
his handsomeness and majesty 
were not necessarily according 
to the standards of the human 
race. But then, he had never 
heard of the human race. 

He sat in his equivalent of a 
throne room day by day, while 
the representatives of a thousand 
passing races conducted their 
business below and before the 
dai^_ on which his great throne 
chair sat. He enjoyed the feeling 
of life around him, so he per- 

mitted them to be there. He did 
not like to be directly involved 
in that life. Therefore none of 
them looked or spoke in his di- 

Before him, he saw their num- 
bers spread out through a lofty 
hall. At the far end of the hall, 
above the lofty portal, was a bal- 
cony pierced through to the out- 
side, so that it overlooked not 
only the hall but the armed 
guards on the wide steps that 
approached the building. On this 
balcony, more members of dif- 
erent races talked and stood. 


Next to the Director’s chair, on 
his left, was a shimmering mir- 
ror surface suspended in midair, 
so that by turning his head only 
slightly he could see himself re- 
flected at full length. Sometimes 
he looked and saw himself. 

But at this moment, now, he 
looked outward. In his mind’s 
eye, he looked beyond the throne 
room and the balcony and the 
steps without. He saw in his 
imagination all the planetwide 
city surrounding, and the five 
other worlds of this solar sys- 
tem, which were the machine 
shops and granaries of this 
crown-world of Duhnbar. This 
world and system he . . . ruled is 
too mild a word. This world he 
owned, and wore like a ring on 
his finger. 

All of it, seen in his mind’s 
eye, had the dull tinge of famil- 
iarity and sameness. 

He moved slightly the index 
one of his four-jointed fingers, 
of which he had three, with an 
opposed thumb on each hand. 
The male adult of his own race 
who currently filled a role some- 
thing like that of chamberlain 
stepped forward from behind the 
throne chair. The Director did 
not look at the Chamberlain, 
knowing he would be there. The 
Director’s thin lips barely moved 
in his expressionless, pale green 

“It has been some moments,” 

he said. “Is there still nothing 


t C TAirector of All,” said the low 
voice of the Chamberlain 
at his ear. “Since you last asked, 
there has been nothing on the 
six worlds which has not hap- 
pened before. Only the landing 
here at the throne city of a single 
alien of a new race. He has 
passed into the city now, omit- 
ting to sacrifice at a purple 
shrine but otherwise behaving as 
all behave on your worlds.” 

“Is there anything new,” said 
the Director, “about his failure 
to sacrifice?” 

“The failure is a common 
one,” said the Chamberlain. “It 
has been many generations since 
anyone seriously worshipped at 
a purple shrine. The sacrifice is 
a mere custom of our port. 
Strangers not knowing of it in- 
variably fail to light incense on 
the cube before the purple.” 
The Director said nothing im- 
mediately. The Chamberlain 
stood waiting. If he had been 
left to wait until he collapsed 
from fatigue or starvation, an- 
other would have taken his place. 

“Is there a penalty for this?” 
said the Director at last. 

“The penalty,” said the Cham- 
berlain, “by ancient rule is 
death. But for hundreds of years 
it has been remitted on payment 
of a small fine.” 




The Director turned these 
words over in his mind. 

“There is a value in old cus- 
toms,” he said after a while. “Old 
customs long fallen into disuse 
•eem almost like something new 
when they are revived. Let the 
ancient penalty be reestablished.” 
“From this transgressor,” ask- 
ed the Chamberlain, “as well as 
all others after?” 

The Director moved his index 
finger in silent assent and dis- 
missal. The Chamberlain step- 
ped backward and spoke to 
the under-officers who were al- 
ways waiting. 

The Director, sated with look- 
ing out over the hall, turned his 
gaze slightly to his own seated 
image in the mirror surface at 
his left. He saw there an individ- 
ual a trifle over seven feet in 
height, seated in a tall, carven 
chair with ornate armrests. Four- 
fingered hands lay upon the 
curved ends of the armrests. The 
arms, the legs, the body was cov- 
ered in a slim, simple garment 
of sky blue. From the neck of 
the garment emerged a tall and 
narrow head with lean features, 
a straight, almost lipless mouth, 
narrow nose and a greenish, hair- 
iess skull. The eyes were golden, 
enormous and beautiful. 

But neither the eyes nor the 
face showed any expression. The 
faces of the Chamberlain and 
the guards and others of the race 

sometimes showed expressions. 
But the Director’s face, never. 
He was several hundreds of years 
old and would live until some 
rare accident killed him, or he 
became weary of life. 

He had never known what it 
was to be sick. He had never 
known cold, hunger or any dis- 
comfort. He had never known 
fear, hatred, loneliness or love. 
He watched himself now in the 
mirror, for he posed an unend- 
ing enigma to himself — an enig- 
ma that alone relieved the bore- 
dom of his existence. He did not 
attempt to investigate the engi- 
ma. He only savored it as a con- 
noisseur might savor a fine wine. 

The image in the mirror he 
gazed upon was the image of a 
being who could find no alter- 
native but to consider himself as 
a God. 

AT^Till Mauston was broken- 
’ knuckled and wrinkled 
about the eyes. The knuckles he 
had broken on human and alien 
bones, fighting for what belong- 
ed to him. The wrinkles about 
the eyes had come from the 
frowning harshness of expres- 
sion evolved from endless bar- 
gains driven. On the infrequent 
occasions that he got back to 
Earth to see his wife and two 
young children, the wrinkles al- 
most disappeared ... for a while. 
But Earth was overcrowded and 



the cost of living there was high. 
He always had to leave again, 
and the wrinkles always came 
back. He was twenty-six years 

He had heard of Duhnbar 
through a race of interstellar 
traders called the Kjaka, heavy- 
bodied, lion-featured and honest. 
He had assumed there must be 
such a world, as on Earth in the 
past there had been ancient cities 
like Samarkand under Tamer- 
lane, where the great trade route 
crossed. He had searched and 
inquired and the Kjakas had 
told him. Duhnbar was the Sa- 
markand of the stars. One 
mighty stream of trade flowed 
out from the highly developed 
worlds of the galaxy’s center and 
met here with several peripheral 
routes among the outlying, scat- 
tered stars. 

Will had come alone and he 
was the first from Earth to reach 
it. From this one trip, he could 
well make enough to retire and 
not have to leave his family on 
Earth again. The Kjakas were 
honest and had taught him the 
customs of the Duhnbar port. 
They had sent him to Kahl 
Dohn, one of their own people 
on Duhnbar, who would act as 
Will’s agent there. They had for- 
gotten the small matter of the 
purple shrine. The custom was 
all but obsolete, the fine was 
nominal. They had talked of 

larger transactions and values. 

Passing through the terminal 
building of the port, Will saw a 
cube of metal, a purple cloth 
hanging on the wall above it and 
small purple slivers that fumed 
and reeked. He passed at a good 
distance. Experience had taught 
him not to involve himself with 
the religions and customs of 
peoples he did not know. 

Riding across the city in an 
automated vehicle set for the ad- 
dress of his agent, Will passed 
a square in which there was what 
seemed to be a sort of forty-foot 
high clothespole. What way hung 
on it, however, were not clothes, 
but bodies. The bodies were not 
all of the native race, and he 
was glad to leave it behind. 

He reached the home of the 
Kjakan agent. It was a pleasant, 
two story, four-sided structure 
surrounding an interior court- 
yard rich with vegetation un- 
known to Will. He and his host 
sat on an interior balcony of the 
second floor overlooking the 
courtyard, and talked. The 
agent’s name was Kahl Dohn. He 
ate a narcotic candy particular 
to his own race and saw that 
Will was supplied with a pure 
mixture of distilled water and 
ethyl alcohol — to which Will 
added a scotch flavor from one 
of the small vials he carried at 
his belt. Will had set up a bal- 
ance of credit on several Kjakan 



worlds. Khal Dohn would buy 
for him on Duhnbar against that 

They were beginning a discus- 
sion of what was available on 
Duhnbar that would be best for 
Will to purchase, speaking in the 
stellar lingua franca, the trad- 
ing language among the stars. 
Abruptly, they were interrupted 
by a voice from one of the walls, 
speaking in a tongue Will did 
not understand. Khal Dohn lis- 
tened, answered and turned his 
heavy, leonine face on Will. 

''We must go downstairs,” he 

He led Will back down to the 
room which led to the street 
before his home. Waiting there 
were two of the native race in 
black, short robes, belted at the 
waist with silver belts. A black 
rod showed in a sort of silver 
pencil-case attached to the belt 
of each native. 

As Will and Khal came down 
a curving ramp to them, the 
golden eyes of both natives fast- 
ened on Will with mild curiosity. 

“Stranger and alien,” said one 
of them in the trade tongue, 
“you are informed that you are 
under arrest.” 

VX7’ill looked at them, and 
opened his mouth. But Khal 
Dohn was already speaking in 
the native tongue; and after a 
little while the natives bowed 

shortly and went out. Khal Doha 
turned back to Will. 

“Did you see in the terminal 
— ” Khal Dohn described the 
Purple Shrine. Will nodded. 
“Did you go near it?” 

“No,” said Will. “I always 
steer clear of such things, unless 
I know about them.” 

Khal Dohn stared at him for 
a long moment. Below the heavy, 
rather oriental fold of flesh, his 
eyes were sad, dark and unread- 
able to Will. 

“I don’t understand,” he said 
at last. “But you are my guest, 
and my duty is to protect you. 
We’d better go see an acquaint- 
anced of mine — one who has 
more influence here in the 
throne city than I do.” 

He led Will out to one of the 
automated vehicles. On their way 
to the home of the acquaintance 
he answered Will’s questions by 
describing the custom of the 
Purple Shrine. 

“ — I don’t understand,” the 
Kjaka said. “I should have been 
able to pay your fine to the po- 
lice and settle it. But they had 
specific orders to arrest you and 
take you in.” 

“Why didn’t they, then?” ask- 
ed Will. 

The dark eyes swung and met 
his own. 

“You’re my guest,” said Khal 
Dohn. “I’ve taken on the respon- 
sibility of your surrender at the 



proper time, while they fulfill 
my request for the verification 
of the order to arrest you.” 

Outside the little vehicle, as 
they turned into the shadow of 
a taller building, a coolness 
seemed to gather about them and 
reach inside to darken and slow 
Will’s spirits. 

‘‘Do you think it’s something 
really important?” he said. 

‘‘No,” answered Khal Dohn. 
“No. I’m sure it’s all a mistake.” 

They stopped before a build- 
ing very like the home of Khal 
Dohn. Khal led Will up a ramp 
to a room filled with oversize 
furniture. From one large chair 
rose a narrow-bodied, long-hand- 
ed alien with six fingers to a 
hand. His face was narrow and 
horselike. He stood better than 
seven and half feet, in jacket 
and trousers of a dark red color. 
A dagger hung at his belt. 

“You are my guest as always, 
Khal Dohn!” he cried. His voice 
was strident and high-pitched. 
He spoke the trade tongue, but 
he pronounced the Kjakan name 
of Khal Dohn with a skill Will 
had not been able to master. 
“And welcome as the guest of 
my guest is — ” he turned to Will, 
speaking to Khal — “what is its 
name — ?” 

“His name,” said Khal, “is 
Will Mau — ” his own, Kjakan 
tongue failed the English sf 
sound — “Will Mauzzon.” 

“Welcome,” said the tall alien. 
“I am Avoa. What is it?” 

“Something I don’t under- 
stand.” Khal switched to the na- 
tive tongue of Duhnbar and Will 
was left out of the conversation. 
They talked some little while. 

“I will check,” cried Avoa, 
finally, breaking back into the, 
trade tongue. “Come tomorrow 
early, Khal Dohn. Bring it with 

“Him,” said Khal. “I will 
bring him.” 

“Of course. Of course. Come 
together. I’ll have news for you 
then. It can be nothing serious.” 

I^hal and Will left and came 
back to the balcony above 
the courtyard of Khal’s home. 
They sat talking. The sunset of 
the planet spread across the wes- 
tern skyline of the throne city, its 
light staining the white ceiling 
above them with a wash of red. 

“You’re sure it’s nothing to 
worry about?” Will asked the 

“I’m sure.” Khal Dohn finger- 
ed one of his narcotic candies 
in thick fingers. “They have a 
strict but fair legal code here. 
And if there is any misunder- 
standing, Avoa can resolve it. He 
has considerable influence. Shall 
we return to talk of business?” 

So they talked as the interior 
lights came on. Later they ate 
their different meals together — 



Will’s from supplies he had 
brought from his ship — and 
parted for the night. 

It was a comfortable couch in 
a pleasant, open-balconied room 
giving on the courtyard below, 
that Khal assigned Will. But 
Will found sleep standing off 
some distance from him. He was 
a man of action, but here there 
was no action to be taken. He 
walked to the balcony and look- 
ed down into the courtyard. 

Below, the strange plants were 
dim shapes in the light of a full 
moon too weak and pale to be 
the moon of Earth. He wonder- 
ed how his wife and the two 
children were. He wondered if, 
across the light-years of distance, 
they were thinking of him at 
this moment, perhaps worrying 
about him. 

He breathed the unfamiliar, 
tasteless night air and it seemed 
heavy in his lungs. At his belt 
was a container of barbiturates, 
four capsules of seconal. He had 
never found the need to take one 
before in all these years between 
the stars. He took one now, wash- 
ing it down with the flat, distill- 
ed water they had left in this 
room for him. 

He slept soundly after that, 
without dreams. 

VX/'hen he woke in the morn- 
’ ing, he felt better. Khal 
Dohn seemed to him to be quite 

sensible and undisturbed. They 
rode over to the home of Avoa 
together; and Will took the op- 
portunity he had neglected be- 
fore to pump Khal about the 
city as they rode through it. 

When they entered the room 
where they had met Avoa the 
day before, the tall alien was 
dressed in clothing of a lighter, 
harsher red but seemed the same 
in all other ways. 

“Well,” said Will to him, smil- 
ing, after they had greeted each 
other in the trade tongue. “What 
did you find out the situation 

Avoa stared back at him for 
a moment, then turned and be- 
gan to speak rapidly to Khal in 
the native tongue. Khal answer- 
ed. After a moment they both 
stopped and looked at Will with- 
out speaking. 

“What’s happened?” said Will. 
“What is it?” 

“I’m sorry,” said Khal slowly, 
in the trade tongue. “It seems 
that nothing can be done.” 

Will stared at him. The words 
he had heard made no sense. 

“Nothing can be done?” he 
said. “About what? What do you 

“I’m sorry,” said Khal. “I 
mean, Avoa can do nothing.” 

“Nothing?” said Will. 

Neither of the aliens answer- 
ed. They continued to watch 
him. Suddenly, Avoa shifted his 



weight slightly on his long feet, 
and half-turned toward the door- 
way of the room. 

“I am sorry!” he cried sharp- 
ly. “Very sorry. But it is a situa- 
tion out of my control. I can do 

“Why?” burst out Will. He 
turned on Khal. “What’s wrong? 
You told me their legal system 
was fair. I didn’t know about 
the shrine!” 

“Yes,” said Khal. “But this 
isn’t a matter for their law. Their 
Director has given an order.” 

“Director?” The word buzzed 
as deadly and foolishly as a trop- 
ical mosquito in Will’s ears. 
“The one on the throne? What’s 
he got to do with it?” 

“It was his command,” said 
Avoa suddenly in his strident 
voice. “The ancient penalty was 
to be enforced. After he heard 
about your omission. From now 
on, newcomers will be warned. 
They are fair here.” 

“Fair!” the word broke from 
between Will’s teeth. “What 
about me? Doesn’t this Director 
know about me? What is he, 

Khal and Avoa looked at each 
other, then back at Will. 

“These people here,” said 
Khal slowly, “control trade for 
light-years in every direction. 
Not because of any virtue in 
themselves, but because of the 
accident of their position here 

among the stars. They know thk 
— so they need something. J£ 
symbol, something to set up, to 
reassure themselves of their right 

“In all else, they are reason- 
able,” said Avoa. 

“Their symbol,” said Khal, “k 
the Director. They identify with 
him as being all-powerful, ovef 
things in the universe. His slight- 
est whim is obeyed without hesi- 
tation. He could order them afl 
to cut their own throats and they 
would do it, without thinking. 
But of course he will not. He 
is not in the least irresponsible. 
He is sane and of the highest 
intelligence. But the only law 
he knows is his own.” 

Cried Avoa, “He is all but im- 
potent. Ordinarily he does noth- 
ing. We interest and amuse him, 
and he is bored, so he lets us 
trade here with impunity. But 
if he does act, there is no appeal. 
It is a risk we all take. You are 
not the only one.” 

“But I’ve got a wife — ” Will 
broke off suddenly. He had 
shouted out without thinking in 
English. They were gazing back 
at him now without understand- 
ing. For a moment a watery film 
blurred them before his eyes. 

r T"'he desert- dry wind of a de- 

spair blew through him, 

shriveling his hopes. What did 

they know of wives and children, 




or Earth? He saw their faces 
clearly now, both alien, one 
heavy and leonine, one pa- 
trician and -?quine. He thought 
of his wife again, and the 
children Without his income 
they would be forced to em- 
igrate. A remembrance of the 
bitter, crude and barren livings 
of the frontier planets came to 
his mind like strangling smoke. 

“Wait,” he said, as Avoa turn- 
ed to go. Will brought his voice 
done to a reasonable tone. 
“There must be someone I can 
appeal to. Khal Dohn.” He turn- 
ed to the Kjaka. “I’m your 

“You are my guest,” said Khal. 
“But I can’t protect you against 
this. It’s like a natural, physical 
force — a great wind, an earth- 
quake against which I would be 
helpless to protect any guest, or 
even myself.” 

He looked at Will with his 
dark, alien eyes, like the eyes of 
an intelligent beast. 

“Pure chance — the chance of 
the Director hearing about you 
and the shrine when he did,” 
said Khal, “has selected you. All 
those who face the risk of trad- 
ing among the stars know the 
chance of death. You must have 
figured the risk, as a good trader 

“Not like this — ” said Will be- 
tween his teeth, but Avoa inter- 
rupted, turning to leave. 

“I must go,” he said. “I have 
appointments on the throne 
room balcony. Khal Dohn, give 
it anything that will make these 
last hours comfortable and my 
house will supply. You must sur- 
ender it before midday to the 

“No!” Will called after the tall 
alien. “If nobody else can save 
me, then I want to see him!” 

“Him?” said Khal. Avoa sud- 
denly checked, and slowly turn- 
ed back. 

“The Director.” Will looked 
at both of them. “I’ll appeal to 

Khal and Avoa looked at each 
other. There was a silence. 

“No,” said Avoa, finally. “It 
is never done. No one speaks to 
him.” He seemed about to turn 

“Wait.” It was Khal who spoke 
this time. Avoa looked sharply 
at him. Khal met the taller alien’s 
eyes. “Will Mauzzon is my guest.’ 

“It is not my guest,” said Avoa. 

“7 am your guest,” said Khal, 
without emotion. 

Avoa stared now at the short- 
er, heavier-bodied alien. Abrupt- 
ly he said something sharply in 
the native tongue. 

Khal did not answer. He stood 
looking at Avoa without moving. 

“It is already dead,” Avoa 
said at last slowly, in the trade 
tongue, glancing at Will, “and 
being dead can have no further 



effect upon the rest of us. You 
waste your credit with me.” 

Still Khal neither spoke nor 
moved. Avoa turned and went 

“My guest,” said Khal, sitting 
down heavily in one of the over- 
size chairs of the room, “you 
have little cause for hope.” 

A fter that he sat silent. Will 
paced the room. Occasionally 
he glanced at the chronometer 
on his wrist, adjusted to local 
time. It showed the equivalent 
of two and three-quarters hours 
to noon when the wall chimed 
and spoke in Avoa’s voice. 

“Yoq have your audience,” 
said Khal, rising. “I would still 
advise against hope.” He looked 
with his heavy face and dark 
eyes at Will. “Worlds can’t af- 
ford to war against worlds to pro- 
tect their people, and there is no 
reason for a Director to change 
his mind.” 

He took Will in one of the 
small automated vehicles to the 
throne room. Inside the portal, 
at the steps leading up to the 
balcony, he left Will. 

“I’ll wait for you above,” Khal 
said. “Good luck, my guest.” 

Will turned. At the far end of 
the room he saw the dais and the 
Director. He went toward it 
through the crowd, that at first 
had hardly noticed him but grew 
silent and parted before him as 

he proceeded, until he could 
hear in the great and echoing 
silence of the hall the sound of 
his own footsteps as he approach- 
ed the dais, the seated figure and 
the throne, behind which stood 
natives with the silver pencil 
cases and black rods at their silv- 
ver belts. 

He came at last to the edge 
of the dais and stopped, looking 
up. Above him, the high green- 
ish skull, the narrow nouth, the 
golden eyes leaned forward to 
look down at him; and he saw 
them profiled in the mirror sur- 
face alongside. The profile was 
no more remote than the living 
face it mirrored. 

Will opened his mouth to 
speak, but one of the natives be- 
hind the throne, wearing the 
Chamberlain’s silver badge, 
stepped forward as the finger of 
the Director gestured. 

“Wait,” said the Chamberlain 
in the trade tongue. He turned 
and spoke behind him. Will wait- 
ed, and the silence stretched out 
long in the hall. After a while 
there was movement and two na- 
tives appeared, one with a small 
chair, one with a tube-shaped 
container of liquid. 

“Sit,” said the Chamberlain. 
“Drink. The Director has said 

Will found himself seated and 
with the tube in his hand. An 
odor of alcohol diluted with wa- 



ter came to his nostrils; and for 
■ moment a burst of wild laugh- 
ter trembled inside him. Then 
he controlled it and sipped from 
the tube. 

“What do you say?” said the 

Will lifted his face to the un- 
changing face of the Director. 
Like the unreachable stare of an 
insect’s eyes the great golden 
orbs regarded him. 

“I haven’t intentionally com- 
mitted any crime,” said Will. 

“The Director,” said the 
Chamberlain, “knows this.” 

His voice was flat, uninflect- 
ed. But he seemed to wait. The 
golden eyes of the throned fig- 
ure seemed to wait, also watch- 
ing Irrationally, Will felt the 
first small flame of a hope flick- 
er to life within him. His trader’s 
instinct stirred. If they would lis- 
ten, there must always be a 

“I came here on business,” he 
said, “the same sort of business 
that brings so many. Certainly 
this world and the trading done 
on it are tied together. Without 
Duhnbar there could be no trad- 
ing place here. And without the 
trading would Duhnbar and its 
other sister worlds still be the 

He paused, looking upward for 
some reaction. 

“The Director,” said the 
Chamberlain, “is aware of this.” 


“Certainly, then,” said Will, 
“if the traders here respect the 
laws and customs of Duhnbar, 
shouldn’t Duhnbar respect the 
lives of those who come to 
trade?” He stared at the golden 
eyes hanging above him, but he 
could read no difference in them, 
no response. They seemed to 
wait still. He took a deep breath. 
“Death is—” 

He stopped. The Director had 
moved on his throne. He leaned 
slowly forward until his face 
hung only a few feet above 
Will’s. He spoke in the trade 
tongue, in a slow, deep, unex- 
pectedly resonant voice. 

“Death,” he said, “is the final 
new experience.” 

He sat slowly back in his 
chair. The Chamberlain spoke. 

“You will go now,” he said. 

Will sat staring at him, the 
tube of alcohol and water still 
in his grasp. 

“You will go,” repeated the 
Chamberlain. “You are free un- 
til midday and the moment of 
your arrest.” 

Will’s head jerked up. He 
snapped to his feet from the 

“Are you all insane?” he 
shouted at the Chamberlain. 
“You can’t do this sort of thing 
without an excuse! My people 
take care of their own — ” 

He broke off at the sight of 
the Chamberlain’s unmoved face. 


He felt suddenly dizzy and nau- 
seated at the pit of his stomach. 

Said the Chamberlain, “It is 
understandable that you do not 
want to die. You will go now or 
I will have you taken away.” 

Something broke inside Will. 
^ It was like the last effort of a 
man in a race who feels the run- 
ning man beside him pulling 
away and tries, but cannot match 
the pace. Dazedly, dully, he 
turned. Blindly he walked the 
first few steps back toward the 
distant portal. 


The Chamberlain’s voice turn- 
ed him around. 

“Come back,” said the Cham- 
berlain. “The Director will 

Numbly he came back. The Di- 
rector leaned forward once more, 
until when Will halted their 
faces were only a few feet apart. 

“You will not die,” said the 

Will stared up at the alien 
face without understanding. The 
words rang and reechoed like 
strange, incomprehensible sounds 
in his ears. 

“You will live,” said the Di- 
rector. “And when I send for 
you, from time to time, you will 
come again and talk to me.” 

Will continued to stare. He 
felt the smooth, flexible tube of 
liquid in his right hand, and he 

felt it bulge between his fingers 
as his fingers contracted spas- 
modically. He opened his lips 
but no words worked their way 
past his tight muscles of his 

“It is interesting,” said the 
deep and thrilling voice of the 
Director, as his great, golden eyes 
looked down at Will, “that yoa 
do not understand me. It is in- 
teresting to explain myself to 
you. You give me reasons why 
you should not die.” 

“ — Reasons?” Between Will’s 
dry lips, the little word slipped 
huskily out. Miraculously, out of 
the ashes of his despair, he felt 
the tiny warmth of a new hope. 

“Reasons,” said the Director. 
“You give me reasons. And there 

are no reasons. There is only 

___ _ » 

The hope flickered and stum- 
bled in its reach for life. 

“I will make you understand 
now,” said the deep and meas- 
ured voice of the Director. “It 
is I who am responsible for all 
things that happen here. It is my 
whim that moves them. There is 
nothing else.” 

The golden eyes looked into 
Will’s. \ 

“It was my whim,” said the Di- 
rector, “that the penalty of the 
shrine’s neglect should be im- 
posed once more. Since I had 
decided so, it was unavoidable 
that you should die. For when 



I decide, all things follow in- 
exorably. There is no other way 
or thing.” 

Will stared, the muscles of his 
neck stiff as an iron brace. 

‘‘But then,” said the deep voice 
beneath the glorious eyes, “as 
you were leaving another desire 
crossed my mind. That you 
might interest me again on fu- 
ture occasions.” 

He paused. 

“Once more,” he said, “all 
things followed. If you were to 
interest me in the future, you 
could not die. And so you are not 
to.” His eyes held Will’s. “And 
now you understand.” 

A faint thoughtfulness cloud- 
ed his golden eyes. 

“I have done something with 
you this day,” he said almost to 
himself, “that I have never done 
before. It is quite new. I have 
made you know what you are, 
in respect to what I am. I have 
taken a creature not even of my 
own people and made it under- 
stand it has no life or death or 
reasons of its own, except those 
my desires desire.” 

He stopped speaking. But Will 
still stood, rooted. 

“Do not be afraid,” said the 
Director. “I killed you. But I 
have brought another creature 
who understands to life in your 
body. One who will walk this 
world of mine for many years 
before he dies.” 

A sudden brilliance like a sheet 
of summer lightning flared 
in Will’s head, blinding him. He 
heard his own voice shouting, 
in a sound that was rage without 
meaning. He flung his right arm 
forward and up as his sight clear- 
ed, and saw the liquid in the tube 
he had held splash itself against 
the downward-gazing, expres- 
sionless face above him, and the 
container bounce harmlessly 
from the sky-blue robe below the 

There was a soundless jerk 
through all the natives behind 
the throne. A soundless gasp 
as if the air had changed. Native 
hands had flown to the black 
rods. But there they hung. 

The Director had not moved. 
The watered alcohol dripped 
slowly from his nose and chin. 
But his features were unchanged, 
his hands were still, no finger 
on either hand stirred. 

He continued to gaze at Will. 
After a long second, Will turn- 
ed. He was not quite sure what 
he had done, but something sull- 
en and brave burned redly in 

He began to walk up the long 
aisle through the crowd, toward 
the distant portal. In that whole 
hall he was the only thing mov- 
ing. The thousand different trad- 
ers followed him with their eyes, 
but otherwise none moved, and 
no one made a sound. From the 



crowd there was silence. From 
the balcony overlooking, and the 
steps beyond the entrance, there 
was silence. 

Step by echoing step he walk- 
ed the long length of the hall 
and passed through the towering 
archway into the bright day out- 
side. He made it as far as half- 
way down the steps before, in- 
side the hall, the Director’s fin- 
ger lifted, the message of that 
finger was flashed to the ranked 
guards outside, and the black 
rods shot him down with flame 
in the sunlight. 

On the balcony above, over- 
looking those steps, Avoa stirred 
at last, turning his eyes from 
what was left of Will and look- 

ing down at Khal Dohn beside 

“What was. . Avoa’s voice 
fumbled and failed. He added, 
almost humbly. “I am sorry. I 
do not even know the proper 

“He,” said Khal Dohn, still 
looking down at the steps. 

“He. What did he call him- 
self?” Avoa said. “You told me, 
but I do not remember. I should 
have listened, but I did not. 
What did you say — what was 

Khal Dohn lifted his heavy 
head and looked up at last. 

“He was a man,” said Khal 



Cordwainer Smith 



E. E- Smith, Ph.D. £ 



George O. Smith 

FIRE, 2019! £ 


Jack Smith 


J All in the May IF — still 
July issue IF GOES 

on sale! And don't forget — starting with the I 

II ! T i V V * v ' I 1 T ! 1 I T 1 


1 T T 1 I f I I * 1 1 I 1 | I v V T T T T T | , T I T*' 






Getting to the planets may 
not be the big problem — 
maybe the hard part will be 
handling the stay-at-homesl 


'T'he sudden whine underneath 
them was like the dying song 
of a motor. But their car, being 
a linear job, didn’t have one. 
The only motor was far away 
in the control station, setting up 
a magnetic beat in the pulse 
strips laid along the middle of 
each traffic lane. 

The dying fall was in the trac- 

tive case — but the effect was 
the same; as the whine faded 
through a whimper into silence 
the car slowed and stopped. 
Howe pulled on the handbrake. 

Pennell looked at the dead 
pulse meter, then questioningly 
at Howe. This was only his sec- 
ond assignment — his first with 

Howe’s craggy face splintered 
in a crooked grin. 



“Sign One. Things must be 
warming up.” 

“But they sell Linear because 
they guarantee the power.” 

"Through Sleet and Snow and 
Rain and Hail, The Linear Strip 
Will Never Fail" Howe quoted 
sardonically. “It hasn’t failed. 
It’s been failed. Switched off, 
dear boy.” 

People said that Howe was 
a one-time actor. He wasn’t the 
only one in Special Branch to 
have accreted that aura. It seem- 
ed to be the myth of Branch, 
just as in advertising (where 
Pennell had started his career). 
There they regarded themselves 
all as frustrated Great Writers 
trapped in the plastic towers of 
commerce, their wings clipped, 
wild Byronic collars trimmed to 
neat button-downs. People must 
have some pretty rich private 
fantasies to be in such a crazy 
set-up as Branch — and a pretty 
good assortment of reasons. 

His own was simple — to get 
a toehold, however oblique, in 
the Space Service ... a reason 
which he had carefully conceal- 
ed from the Interview Board 
eight months ago. They might 
have thought it the wrongest 
possible one. 

Howe reached into the glove 
compartment and took out a 
black watch-sized instrument. 
He slid back the door and went 
round behind the car. Pennell 

followed him. Howe bent over 
the pulse strip. It was buried an 
inch below the molycrete sur- 
face, but the line of filler above 
it was clearly discernible. 

Howe straightened. “I thought 
so.” He crossed the highway to 
the barrier that divided the two 
sets of lanes. He straddled it, 
then kneeled again over the 
nearest lane — the high-speed 

Pennell just reached the bar- 
rier when he glimpsed something 
from the corner of his eye. It was 
red and moving fast. 

“Watch out!” he screamed. 

T T owe reacted instinctively, 
flinging himself up against 
the barrier as the red car hurtled 
past. Pennell caught a glimpse of 
the driver’s face — a fat, fright- 
ened one. Then the car was a 
dwindling spot in the distance. 

“Thanks,” Howe said non- 
chalantly, swinging back over 
the barrier. He dusted down his 
night-colored uniform with one 
sleek leather glove. “That con- 
firms it. Power’s full on the other 
strip — going out of Bonfield.” 

“Then it’s already started,” 
Pennell said as they went back 
to the car. It wasn’t a question. 
Score two out of two, in his 
limited experience so far, for 
Special Branch’s statistics de- 
partment. “It’s uncanny, the way 
they get it taped.” 



“Not so uncanny. Just effici- 
ent, blast ’em,” Howe answered. 
“And experienced by now, after 
three years. Pressure doesn’t 
build up in really small towns — 
anything under ten thousand 
population. Towns that size 
aren’t much more than dormi- 
tories or stopover places. And in 
big towns the pressure gets dis- 
persed. People can change their 
jobs — or even get out. The big- 
ger the city, the more houses are 
rented. It’s the Bonfields of this 
world that are the danger points. 
They’re just big enough to sup- 
port some industry. People buy 
their houses. They’ve got more 
ties — and more reasons for feel- 
ing trapped.” 

“I learned a bit about that at 
Training School.” 

“Oh, they teach you that now, 
do they?” 

“Only in outline. Just enough 
to let us know what kind of or- 
ganization they’ve got behind the 
front line. All the same, it’s — ” 

“Uncanny. Yeah, you said 
that. And all done without hav- 
ing a Man On The Spot — all 
out of freely available statistics 
and press reports. It’s just know- 
ing what to watch. A creep-up 
of the juvenile delinquency fig- 
ures is usually the first sign. 
That immediately puts a red star 
on the file. Then — well, all 
kinds of things ... a crop erf 
small-time- embezzlements . . . 

undue demand on the hospital 
— especially the mental hospital, 
if the town’s got one ... an up- 
turn in marital dispute cases. If 
a town gets more than one 
murder in a short space of time, 
that really gets the boys busy 
on their graphs. Various symp- 
toms build up. The graph takes 
on a familiar shape with a pre- 
dictable curve. Once that hap- 
pens — well, that’s when we’re 

He broke off and gestured to 
Pennell to change over seats. 

Pennell did as he was bid, 
though he could see no point in 
it. He said as much to Howe. 

“Who goes to ring the break- 
down service?” 

“Neither of us, my lad.” Howe 
grinned and reached beneath the 
fascia. A humming started up and 
mounted to a low drone. 

He answered Pennell’s look of 
surprise : 

“It happened to me last time 
out but one. So I took the pre- 
caution of having an emergency 
motor fitted. Branch are think- 
ing of making them standard 
equipment — just in case this is 
going to become part of the pat- 
tern. Better than getting official 
screws put on the Linear people. 
That would be a mite too obtru- 
sive for Branch. Anyway, it’s not 
the Linear company’s fault. 
Their local controller probably 
has a gun in his back.” He nod- 



ded at Pennell. “Go on, give it 
a whirl. That pedal on the right 
controls the power.” 

Pennell’s foot found it. “I 
wondered what it was for. 
Thought it was something to do 
with the air-conditioning.” He 
pushed it down experimentally, 
releasing the handbrake. 

A handbrake was something 
you only used on a linear job for 
parking and emergencies. Driv- 
ing a linear was even easier 
than driving an auto-transmis- 
sion petrol car. You had no wor- 
ries about vehicles behind you 
or in front of you. You only had 
to watch when you switched 
lanes, Momentum carried you 
from one pulse strip to another; 
then you picked up the pulse 
again — to ride on the crest of 
a magnetic wave at sixty, ninety 
or a hundred and twenty miles 
an hour. Those were the speeds 
of the lanes, as unvarying as 
the frequency of an alternating 
power line, except in smog or 
snow when they were cut down 
to whatever safe speed visibility 

But if most of the old thrill 
of driving had been taken away, 
there was ample compensation 
in slashed running and mainten- 
ance costs. And there were still 
plenty of roads left that you 
could run an ordinary car on if 
you so wanted. 

Pennell put his foot right down 

and the car slowly reached a 

majestic twenty-five. 

“Though all the Linear sta- 
tions fall, the Howe De Lux • 
will never stall,” Howe chanted, 
parodying the Linear company’* 
slogan. “Well, not for fifty miles, 
anyway, which is the limit of a 
Lansen cell. But Bonfield’s only 
twenty miles away now.” 

'T'hey went sedately on their 
-*■ way. It was early morning, a 
faint mist still masking the day, 
and there had been little traffic 
on the roads so far. A couple of 
cars passed them coming out of 
Bonfield, and each time the 
Special Branch men caught a 
glimpse of mouths dropping in 
surprise. The sight of a car go- 
ing at twenty-five along a linear 
highway must have had all the 
unreality of a slow-motion film. 

For three miles they saw noth- 
ing on their side of the highway. 
Then a utility wagon came hurt- 
ling towards them. 

“Keep right on,” Howe mut- 

The utility driver appeared to 
have the same idea. But at the 
last moment he seemed to re- 
member the rule of the road and 
slewed violently past them, 
with a screech of brakes. In their 
rear mirror the two Special 
Branch men saw it turn in pur- 
suit of them. Which wasn’t a 
hard task ; at their speed any ele- 



■sent of a contest was conspicu- 
ously lacking. 

The utility pulled alongside 
them. It held two policemen. 
The driver flagged them ve- 
hemently. Howe leaned out 
graciously like a grand seigneur 
bowing and proceeded to hold 
two fingers up, practically in the 
nostrils of the other driver. The 
latter went a shade of purple 
and wrenched savagely at his 
steering wheel. 

“I think we had better stop, 
dear boy,” Howe murmured. 
But Pennell had already lifted 
his foot from the pedal. 

The cops climbed out of their 
wagon and stalked over. One 
was carrying sergeant’s stripes 
and walked as if they were new- 
ly acquired. He stopped by the 
Branch men’s car and pushed his 
cap back. 

“What’s the game, mister?” 

“I should ask you that, I 
think,” Howe answered suavely. 

“Oh, you do, do you? Well, 
I’m the one who asks the ques- 
tions round here, and I’m the 
one who gives the orders. And 
the order I’m giving you is to 
follow my wagon to the next 
turnaround — ” 

“But that’s just the direction 
we were heading, officer.” 

“ — and head back the way 
you’ve come.” 

“Ah. That we don't intend to 


The other cop — a youngster; 
Pennell, at twenty-six. could 
have given him a few years — 
reached to his hip. The sergeant 
waved a hand to restrain him, 
smirking as he did so. He fetch- 
ed out a notebook, ostentatiously 
extracted a pencil from its spine 
and licked the point. 

“Right. Which way do you 
want it?” 

“I don’t quite get you,” Howe 
countered innocently. “What’s 
on? Some kind of trouble?” 

“No,” the cop said hastily — 
a shade too hastily. “It’s none of 
your business.” 

“But it is my business,” 
Howe said sweetly. “Here we 
were, driving along peacefully, 
when — ” 

The sergeant held up a beefy 
hand. “If that’s the way you 
want to play it — ” 

The pencil descended and be- 
gan moving. , 

“One, failing to obey a signal 
to stop — ” 

“Since when has a motorized 
bull-charge been a signal to 

“Two, driving a non-linear ve- 
hicles on a linear highway.” 

“You can talk! This is a 
linear vehicle. Latest model. And 
we were driving on the right side 
of the road, at least.” 

The sergeant glared at him 
and went on. “Three, insulting 
behavior, i.e. making an obscene 


gesture to a member of the — ** 
He broke off and turned to his 
subordinate. “What is it, Hawk- 

r T''he young cop had been clear- 
ing his throat noisily. Now 
he gestured meaningly towards 
Howe and Pennell. The sergeant 
followed his gesture, the look of 
annoyance on his face shading 
into puzzlement — until he got 
the message. 

The seats on the latest linear 
cars were low slung so that not 
much more than the heads of 
the occupants were visible. The 
sergeant had thought they were 
wearing dark business suits. Now 
he made out the semi-military 
cut of their jackets, the comet- 
tail moulding on the black but- 

He stepped back and planted 
his fists on his hips. 

“So you’re two of them, are 
you? Well, don’t think that gives 
you any privileges in my book.” 

“I’m sorry to hear you say 
that,” said Howe achingly. Des- 
pite the sergeant’s words, the uni- 
forms had obviously had a chast- 
ening effect on him. Any visi- 
tors to Bonfield would be high- 
ly unwelcome just now, but that 
two Spacers should turn up was 
against all the odds. Infuriating- 
ly so! 

“Look,” the sergeant said, a 
note of pleading entering his 


voice. “I don’t want any more on 
my plate than I have got. If 
you want just to go through the 
town I’ll give you an escort.” 
“Come, come,” Howe chided. 
“Where’s your local patriotism? 
What did the guide book say 
. . . Bonfield, pop. 12,735, sea- 
level, set in the midst of the 
renowned Southchester coun- 
try .. . ?” 

The sergeant looked pained. 
“I’ve got my orders.” 

“And we,” said Howe, “have 
got the freedom of Bonfield.” He 
pulled a slim black book from 
his pocket. “The Spaceman’s 
Passport. Take a look inside. 
Skip the somewhat lamentable 
likeness of myself and concen- 
trate on the reading matter.” 

“I don’t want to know,” the 
sergeant said surlily. “Hold on.” 
He jammed his cap back over 
his eyes and stalked back to his 
wagon, where he lifted a micro- 

The youngster craned down 
over the car and whispered 
hoarsely to Howe. 

“Certainly, dear boy,” Howe 

“You mean it? ThanksV’ He 
thrust his book through the open 
window, looking back over his 
shoulder to make sure his ser- 
geant wasn’t watching. “Do you 
mind putting the name of your 
base underneath?” 

“Of course,” said Howe, ob- 


liging with more alacrity than 

“Marsopolis," the boy breath- 
ed He added eagerly, “You 
know, I volunteered for the 
Spacers, but got turned down. 
Those tests are tough, ain’t they? 
I — ” 

The sergeant was returning 
from the utility. The young cop 
stuffed his book back in his 
pocket and straightened hurried- 

“Okay,” the sergeant said 
heavily. “You’ve been cleared. 
You can go through.” 

“Much obliged,” said Howe. 
He nodded to Pennell, who re- 
started the motor. “Despite your 
doubts, officer, I’m sure we shall 
enjoy our stay.” 


'T'he road followed a gap in the 
hills. They came out on the 
crest of a gentle gradient — and 
the town of Bonfield stretched 
beneath them, its nearer houses 
a scant two miles away. 

It looked like most other 
towns of comparable size. A clus- 
ter of taller buildings in the cen- 
ter; to one side a small factory 
area: around that the gray roofs 
of the older houses, newer red 
roofs blocking in the rest. It 
looked normal and peaceful 
enough from this distance. 
But — 

“Look,” said Howe. Through 
the lifting heat haze, what could 
have at first been mistaken for a 
smoking factory stack could be 
seen as the charred skeleton of 
a building, still smoldering after 
a fire. 

“I see,” Pennell said slowly. 
“But listen.” 

Howe duly listened. “Good 
for you. That’s not the first thing 
most new agents notice.” 

Pennell was still listening — 
and remembering being out with 
his first-ever girl, walking in the 
woods high above his hometown 
in the evening, listening to its 
voice. It was the voice of a town. 
A voice that never stopped, but 
only varied as the wind veered 
or the stereo theaters turned out; 
as whatever note, man-made or 
elemental, turned up on the 
score. Sometimes, by some freak 
of orchestration, it would be 
hushed and a clear single note 
would make itself heard — a 
train crying into the distance, a 
dull cryptic thudding, some voice 
raised in a never-to-be-known 

He smiled wryly at the mem- 
ory — not only of the voice but 
of himself then. And now he was 
here — a member of a strange 
force — listening to another 
voice . . . and knowing that it 
was wrong. 

The ground-bass of traffic was 
missing, for one thing. And the 



note of other wheels — those of 
Industry — was as sporadic as 
an engine missing on several 
cylinder? ihe human compo- 
nent was wrong too, ragged and 
out-of-tune. There was a sense 
of alarm bells ringing, but he 
couldn’t swear that he actually 
heard them. But he did hear a 
siren, for a brief second before it 
died on a strangled note. 

He shivered. 

“Check kit,” Howe said. He 
took out his wallet and snapped 
it open. Pennell followed suit. 

“Haemoxin pills,” Howe in- 








“Disposal bomb.’ 

“Check.” Pennell grinned 
briefly. “As well as anyone can 
check it, short of actually using 

Howe grunted. “We’d better 
take an antifax now. Just in case 
they put lie detectors on us. 
That doesn’t often happen, but 
you never know. Right, let’s 

A mile on they passed a sign 
that said We/come to Bontield. 
Pennell grimaced, wondering 
what kind of welcome Bonfield 
would have for them. 

'T'hey had to wait for that until 
they had checked the car in 
at the Linear Station on the out- 
skirts of town — the usual sit- 
ing. Several cops were clustered 
around the place, trying hard to 
look as if their group presence 
there was entirely coincidental. 
But the only person to come run- 
ning was the green-uniformed 
controller, who leaped out of his 
plexiglass control dome as if he 
had just discovered that it was 
being pumped full of poison gas. 

“May I extend' the sincere 
apologies of the company?” he 
stuttered. He was a little man 
with a bald head. The head was 
glistening more brightly than the 
temperature warranted. “Any in- 
convenience to you will be com- 
pensated. I assure — ” 

Howe cut him off with a 
sweeping gesture. 

“No compensation would be 
adequate for the waste of time 
my companion and I have suf- 
fered. We shall see our lawyers 
when we get back to civiliza- 

“I’m sure there will be no 
need for that,” the controller 
said agitatedly, taking a quick 
look back over his shoulder. Pen- 
nell tracked the glance. Howe 
had been right. Gun in hand or 
not, there was certainly some- 
body else in the dome. He wasn’t 
in police uniform — but neither 
was he in Linear Service green. 



“Be assured that every care will 
be taken with your vehicle while 
it is in our charge.” The little 
man semaphored to an overalled 
service hand. 

Howe merely snorted con- 
temptuously and, beckoning to 
Pennell, strode off. 

Only now did the cops move. 
A couple peeled off and waited 
for the Space Service men at the 
exit gates. 

“We’ve been detailed to look 
after you,” one of them said. 

“Look after us?” Howe’s eye- 
brows rose in feigned amaze- 
ment. “Well, remind whoever 
detailed you that there exists 
something called the Spaceman’s 

“We know,” said the cop, a 
pained expression on his face. 
“Nobody’s stopping you going 
anywhere. This is just protec- 

“ Protection ? Is your town so 
badly run that people need pro- 

The cop made a step towards 
them as if he’d like to punch 
their faces in — then obviously 
thought better of it. 

“I see,” said Howe. “A bit near 
the mark, eh? Well, let me give 
you the exact wording of the 
Charter on this point.” He pull- 
ed out his passport and opened 

“‘Section one, paragraph 
three. Inasmuch as any member 


of the Space Service, being a 
citizen of space, is therefore a 
citizen of all Earth, so he shall 
be deemed a free man of all 
countries and of all states, coun- 
ties, communes or department* 
of those countries and of all 
cities, towns or villages ana be 
permitted to pass freely, subject 
to his abiding by common law, 
in all such places and over all 
boundaries and frontiers without 
let or hindrance.’ ” 

Howe looked up. 

“Briefly, gentlemen, I regard 
your company — roaring good 
fellows as you may be — as 
definitely a let and/or a hin- 
drance. Kindly report back to 
your chief to that effect — and 
let us alone.” 

The two Branch men stalked 
off. The cops didn’t follow. 

Howe snickered loudly. “God, 
they must hate us! You know, 
I think one must be a bit of a 
sado-masochist to enjoy this 

Pennell grinned. “Are you? 
Do you?” 

“That would be telling, dear 
boy. Let me just say that it 
fills a space in this old lumber- 
room of a soul of mine that 
would otherwise be grievously 

They passed a turned-over car, 
and another that had obviously 
just been rescued from that con- 
dition. Its bodywork a stove-in 


ruin, it was being winched onto 
a breakdown truck. There were 
few people on the streets, though 
eyes peered out from the win- 
dows of every other house. 
There was a hush over the town 
like the hush after a bombard- 
ment — half relief, half fear for 
when the next barrage should 

\ couple of youngsters came 
out of a side street. They 
caught sight of the Spacers and 
jerked excitedly at each other’s 
sleeves. They beckoned furi- 
ously over their shoulders and 
were joined by a dozen more 
teenagers, boys and girls — 
though it was a job to tell one 
from the other in the crewcuts 
and back slacks and jerkins that 
both sexes affected. The mob 
descended on the two Branch 

“Close ranks,” Howe said eas- 
iy. Pennell didn’t feel so easy. 
They used to tear pop singers 
apart once, didn’t they? 

The mob was on them. 

“Sign this, please.” 

“Real Spacers! Boy\” 

“Which planet you from?” 
“Kiss me! Kiss me!” 

. Pennell caught a glint of scis- 
sors — reaching for a shoulder 
tab or a lock of his hair. He 
ducked. Then Howe struck out, 
his arm flashing in a black arc. 
His open hand landed, with all 

his strength, across the nearest 
face. It fell back. So did the rest 
of them — in a sudden vacuum 

of silence. 

The one that Howe had struck 
sprawled on the ground. 

“Peggy!" one of the boys said 
in a shocked voice. 

The girl picked herself up, her 
black pants dusty, one side of 
her face branded crimson, the 
rest of it pale. Then, in a way 
curious to see, her whole face 
went as red as the slap mark. 
She turned on her heel and fled 

“Wliat’d you do that for, mis- 
ter?” one of the boys blurted. 

“I wonder you ask,” Howe said 
curtly. “Look at you! What 
does it say on your jacket?” He 
squinted, though the letters were 
nearly a foot high. “Spaceman?” 
His eyes went round the circle. 
“Mars Or Bust? Venus Flight?” 
His voice was scathing. “You’d 
never make space, any of you. 
You need discipline for our job.” 

The kids’ eyes fell. There was 
a shuffling of feet. 

“Sorry, captain. We’ve never 
been so close to a Spacer before.” 

“And get your ranks right.” 
Howe pointed to his sleeve. 
‘We’re only Spacers First Class, 
not captains.” 

“Onlyl” one of them said. 
“That’s like saying you’re only 
— well, only the fifth Knight of 
the Round Table!” 



“D’you ever hear anyone so 
modest?” a girl breathed ecsta- 

Howe cursed. He had been in 
Branch from the start, but he 
could still make mistakes. Kids 
had such blasted short memor- 
ies! They had already forgotten 
the girl he had slapped. He 
would have to correct the bal- 

“What do you want, anyway?” 

“Just — just to be with you,” 
one of the girls said. 

“Haven’t you Earthworms got 
anything better to do?” 

“Earth . . . worms?” echoed a 
tall, fair boy. He had a big 
comet-tail painted across his 

Howe sneered. “That’s what 
we call you in the Service.” 

The fair boy’s lip drooped. 
Then he brightened. “But we 
won’t be Earthworms all our 
lives, will we, fellers?” There 
was a chorus of assent from his 
mates. “The Service is getting 
bigger every day, isn’t it, mis- 

“So’s the world population, 
sonny — faster. But we haven’t 
got time to chat on street com- 
ers with a bunch of pimply 

“Will you come and give a 
talk at our club?” asked the 
tall fair boy. 

“I strongly doubt it.” 

“Can we have a button?” 

“You certainly may not.” 

“Well, autographs, then?” 

Howe sighed. “All right. Juat 

There was a flurry of move- 
ment, but the fair boy already 
had his book out. 

Howe took it. He held it up 
under his eyes and signed it 
with a hand that shook violent- 

“What’s up with him?” one 
of the boys whispered anxious- 
ly to Pennell. 

“Planet shakes,” Pennell told 
him. “We all get it.” 

“But I thought you fellers 
were supposed to be so fit.” 

“Sure — we were . . . once.” 
Pennell twitched. 

“I — I see,” the boy said, 
edging away. A girl took his 
place, holding out her bared 

“I haven’t got a book. Any- 
way, I’d rather have it on my 
arm. I won’t ever wash it till 
the day I become a nurse in 
the Space Service.” 

T)ennell had half a mind to 
-*• take a haemoxin pill right 
there and then. The effect 
would soon dispel any romantic 
notions she might have about 
nursing the Brave Boys of the 
Space Service. But that would 
have been badly timed; hae- 
moxins had to be reserved for 
times of maximum effect. He 



scrawled illegibly on the girl’s 
arm, pressing harder than he 
need have. She bit her lip. 

He glanced at Howe, who 
nodded briefly. They detached 
themselves from the teen-age 
gaggle and strode towards the 
town center. The day was get- 
ting warmer and gave every 
threat of being a scorcher. 

They halted outside a pub. It 
was boarded shut. 

They sought the next, and 
found it in what was obviously 
the old original market square 
of the town. There was prob- 
ably, thought Pennell, a Bon- 
field Society for the Protection 
of Ancient Buildings. The nine- 
teenth-century houses were im- 
maculately painted, the few 
shops obviously high-class ones. 

Yet that civic pride had 
cracked. Several windows were 
broken. One shop front was a 
gutted ruin. Most of the rest 
were shut and shuttered. Only 
a baker’s shops was doing bus- 
iness. and that almost furtively. 
One or two people lounged wari- 
ly under the trees. The place 
was hushed. 

The two Special Branch men 
went up to the doors of the 
pub, the King’s Head. 

This one had all its glass, but 
a turnover card in its door said: 
Sony, Closed. Open 10 a m. 
Today it lied, Howe thought. 
They weren’t sorry to be closed 

— not today. He looked at hia 
watch. The sign lied twice. It 
was already half past the hour. 
He raised his fist and smote 
the glass panel so hard that 
Pennell thought it would shat- 
ter. But Howe had a longer ex- 
perience of hammering on bar 
doors — both on and off duty. 

There was a clumping of feet 
from inside. A voice called out 
hollowly, “We’re shut.” 

“Under the terms of your 
license,” Howe announced, “you 
are obliged to afford refreshment 
to travelers.” 

A face peered out from the 
shadows within. 

“How do I know you’re — ” 
The landlord had obviously 
just noticed the uniforms. There 
was a pause, then bolts slid bads. 
The door opened, on a chain. 

“All right, so you’re travelers. 
This place is shut. You can take 
it up with the police if you’ve 
got any objections.” 

By this time a small crowd had 
collected behind the two Spac- 
ers. Howe was beginning to enjoy 

“You mean — the police have 
closed you up?” 

“Of course not. There — there 
was a bit of trouble in town last 
night, that’s all. Now, if you 
don’t mind — ” 

But Howe already had one 
gleaming black boot in the door. 
“Was the Riot Act read?” 



“Not here it wasn’t. 
“Anywhere else?” 

“Not that I know of.” 

Which was according to pat- 
tern, Howe thought. The local 
authorities did everything to keep 
the trouble within ordinary lim- 
its. They would block the roads 
into town ; they would censor 
phone calls out of it. They could 
gloss over things like that with 
an excuse of power or mechani- 
cal failure. And they would call 
in every spare cop for miles 
around. But riot measures, and 
the final resort — martial law — 
were things every town this hap- 
pened to shuddered from. 

“Then the police have no legal 
right to close you.” 


“I told you, they haven’t clos- 
ed us. They — they just advised 
all of us to stay shut till things 
blew over, but they left it to our 

“I see. Do you think it’s be- 
ing — ah, discreet — to keep all 
these people out?” Howe bent 
closer to the landlord and whis- 
pered, “Would you rather let 
them in or have them batter 
their way in?” 

The landlord hesitated. “All 
right. But at the first sign of 
trouble I’ll call the cops.” 

There would be no need to. 
Howe looked over his shoulder 
and was not surprised to see a 
couple of blue uniforms dispers- 
ed through the crowd. 


9 $ 


A cheer went up as the lights 
switched on. The chain rat- 
tled free and the doors opened. 
The landlord made a beeline for 
his bar-flap to escape the rush. 
But the procession inside was 
pretty orderly. There was more 
rush to slap the Spacers on the 
back than to get to the bar. 

But the drink started to flow. 
Everybody insisted on treating 
the two men in black. The two 
in blue looked on sourly from the 
doorway. Pennell edged out to 
the men’s room at the first op- 
portunity and swallowed a vecol. 
That would counter as much 
alcohol as he could absorb in the 
next two hours. 

He went back to find Howe 
telling some epic stories of his 
exploits in space. The audience 
was lapping it up. But Pennell 
knew that the repertoire was as 
carefully scripted as a tri-vee 
commercial. The story about 
what happened when Howe was 
marooned for three weeks in a 
Venusian ape-peoples’ warren 
was funny, fictitious and pretty 
disgusting, even for a barroom 
story. Laugh now, think later. 
That was the kicker buried in 
such ancedotes. And Howe was 
telling them in just the right way 
— Pennell had to admire his 
performance — in a voice just 
too loud, laughing at his own 

stories a shade too raucously. H« 
himself joined in, but Howe was 
the center of attraction right 


Pennell found himself jostled 
to the periphery of the crowd. 
The landlord craned anxiously 
over the bar. 

“Your friend’s having a lot to 

“He can take it,” Pennell told 
him. He certainly could, with the 
help of a vecol. “Did you have it 
bad last night?” 

“We didn’t. Only a few bottles 
smashed. But some of the other 
places in town were wrecked. I 
don’t know what’s come over the 
place. It’s normally so peaceful. 
Nobody’s sure just how it start- 
ed. Some say it was when Johnny 
Colson came home from failing 
his Space Service test. He was 
one of the brightest kids in town. 
No kid’s ever made the Ser- 
vice from Bonfield — and you 
know how keen they all are.” 
“Yeah. I know.” 

“Still, it wasn’t kids that did 
all the damage around town 
last night. I heard one of my 
regulars was taken in for murder. 
He’s one of the quietest men I 
know — that’s the funniest 


“Crazy, I mean. That’s what 
it is — crazy. It seems to have 
been brewing for months. Now 
suddenly the town’s like — I 



don’t know how to explain it — 
ifs like everyone’s been taken 
over.” He shivered and pulled 
himself together with a visible 
effort. “My wife says if we have 
another night like last night she’s 
going to move out. Can’t say as 
I’d blame her, either.” 

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come 
to that,” Pennell said — and 
meant it. He drained his glass. 
Other glasses around him were 
empty too. He had noticed that 
they had been that way for the 
past ten minutes. The Spacers 
had been treated royally; now 
people were waiting to be treated 
back. Spacers got good money, 
didn’t they? Howe was carefully 
— but not too carefully — not 
noticing. Pennell caught his eye 
and they exchanged a ghost of a 
wink. It was still noisy in the 
pub, but it was beginning to 
sound a bit hollow. Pennell de- 
cided it was a good time to leave 
Howe to it. 

He slipped out into the bright 
sunlight of the square. The news 
had evidently got around that 
two Spacers were in town. People 
came up to him for souvenirs 
and autographs. He was suitably 
brusque with them. 

He saw a coffee bar open, and 
went in. The place was full of 
kids. The hero-worship started 
immediately, but the clamor was 
not half so intense as when that 
first mob of teenagers had en- 


gulfed them. Word must have 
got around about that, too, along 
the kids’ special grapevine. Some 
of them even looked indifferent. 
After signing a few autographs, 
he sorted one of them out, a 
dark-haired boy who was look- 
ing on sullenly from a table by 
the wall. 

“Want my autograph, sonny?” 
Pennell called out to him. 

nphe boy sneered. Unlike most 
of the other kids, he was 
dressed, not in black, but in a 
striped sweatshirt. He was sit- 
ting by himself in the otherwise 
crowded room. 

“Who wants a lousy Spacer’s 

Boos and angry yells were di- 
rected at him by the other kids. 

“You’re looking for a clout 
round the ear,” Pennell told him. 

The boy stood up. He wasn’t 
big, but his manner was quietly 
defiant. A sudden hush fell on 
the place. 

“Who’s going to do that small 
thing?” the boy asked. 

Pennell started to move 
towards him, the crowd falling 
away in front of him. Then he 
faltered and stopped. 

“I’ve got better things to do 
than argue with a kid.” he said. 
He turned away and sat down, 
snapping his fingers to the wait- 
ress for a coffee. 

The silence crumbled into a 


debris of murmurs. The kids 
gaped at him as if they couldn’t 
believe their eyes and ears, then 
whispered to each other. Pennell 
smiled inwardly. He wondered 
if old-time stage villains enjoyed 
getting hissed from the stage. 
Did they take it simply as a 
tribute to their performance — 
or did it secretly gnaw at their 

The waitress came over with 
his coffee and waited for pay- 
ment. He let her wait before 
looking up at her. 

“What, do you expect Spacers 
to pay?” 

She glared at him, then shrug- 
ged and went away. Another 
small victory. But not so small, 
he told himself. She must deal 
with hundreds of customers in a 
day. She was one of the impor- 
tant people. 

He turned to a girl sitting next 
to him. She couldn’t have been 
more than thirteen; only on the 
fringe of the coffee bar circle by 
the look of her. 

“What’s the name of that 
kid?” he asked her, to say some- 
thing, anything. “That cheeky 
kid who didn’t want my auto- 

“Johnny — Johnny Colson,” 
she said in a tiny voice. 

That was the kid the landlord 
of the King’s Head had mention- 
ed. He couldn’t have picked any- 
one better. “Still, let’s not talk 

■bout a stupid kid like him. Let’s 
talk about us.” 

The kid looked sideways at 
him nervously. Pennell put his 
arm around her. She squirmed 
under his touch. 

“Come on, honey, you’re a big 
girl,” he said loudly, pleadingly. 

All eyes were on him. The girl 
was acutely embarrassed. 

Someone said, “What’s wrong 
with him?” 

“Can’t he find women his own 

“Is he spooky or something?” 

Pennell was tempted, for the 
second time, to take a haemoxin. 
But it might have the wrong ef- 
fect, swing them back into 
sympathy. Kids were unpredic- 
table. They’d had special classes 
on kids — and the teacher had 
wound up by confessing just 

The girl squirmed free and 
moved to another table. Pennell 
was wondering whether to give it 
another twist when he heard one 
of the kids say, “I wonder if 
all Spacers are like that?” and 
knew that he had achieved 
enough here. 

He got up and strolled to the 
door. He turned and flung a coin 
in the direction of the counter. 
As he did so, . he saw that the 
Colson boy was no longer setting 

The final satisfaction was 
hearing the clink of the coin 



flung back and clattering on the 
pavement behind him. 

He walked back past the 
King’s Head. It was quiet — 
oddly so after the way he had 
left it. He looked in. Only a 
couple of people were holding 
the bar up. Howe wasn’t one of 

“Where’s my friend?” he de- 
manded, taking a step inside. 

r T''he landlord glared at him. 

“The police took him in to 
cool off. He was trying to start 
a riot all on his own. Took ten 
people to get him to the wagon.” 

“He was always good for ten 
cops,” Pennell said braggingly. 

“Only two cops.” The land- 
lord’s tone was caustic. “The 
others were my customers. They 
were glad to help.” 

Good for Howe! Pennell 
thought. Well, at least he’d 
know where to find him. But 
he’d just test results. He started 
to walk up to the bar. 

The landlord lifted one flat 

‘We don’t want your custom, 
Spacer.” He spoke the last word 
as if it were a dirty one. “I just 
rang up my lawyer. Maybe I 
do have to be open to serve 
travelers, maybe you do have 
special privileges — though lord 
knows how characters like you 
ever got them — but a land- 
lord’s still got the right to admit 

who he likes . . . and refuse who 
he don’t. And you, your friend 
and any more of your precious 
Space Service I don’t.” 

Pennell shrugged and went on 
his way. 

^ After five minutes he came to 
the main shopping street of the 
town. On a normal day it must 
be pretty busy. Even today there 
was a fair number of people 
about. He thought he detected 
that people weren’t so edgy as 
they had been first thing that 
morning. Perhaps he was kidding 
himself. Perhaps people were 
just recovering from the night’s 
uproar and would have come 
out in any case. 

But word got around. Howe 
had pried open one pub. Other 
landlords would have got the 
message soon enough and open- 
ed up too. They would have 
heard, too, about the fracas at 
the King’s Head, but that was 
explicable — two Spacers turn- 
ing up and shouting their mouths 
off. Something definite, curable, 
instead of the baffling violence 
that had erupted the night be- 

Pennell slipped a red hae- 
moxin pill in his mouth and 
gulped it down. He walked on, 
attracting the usual glances, 
curious, admiring — but some 
definitely hostile now. 

Then the pill took hold. 



It didn’t feel pleasant, and it 
looked horrible. He started to 
stagger, cannoning into two or 
three startled passers-by. His 
head felt as if it was trying to 
swell to twice its normal size. 
He finally collapsed in a heap 
on the pavement. That last bit 
was acting. A man under the in- 
fluence of one haemoxin could 
stay on his feet — but with an 

Someone bent over him. He 

“Quick, someone, call an am- 
bulance. This man’s ill.” 

Pennell plucked at the stran- 
ger’s sleeve. 

“No — there’s no need for an 
ambulance.” He meant it. He 
didn’t want hospital doctors run- 
ning around him in circles trying 
to cure a disease that didn’t 

“But you look terribly ill.” 

Pennell know. By now his face 
must be a bright mauve, with 
all the capillaries standing out 
on it as if a madman had 
scrawled across it for hours with 
a red ballpoint. Added to that 
were such personal touches as 
agents were encouraged to culti- 
vate — in his case a realistic 
frothing at the mouth and a 
breathing that sounded like a 
decrepit rat dragging its way 
through a cellar full of rusty 
nails. He’d worked hard on that 

“It’s all right,” he gasped. 
“It’s only — only Spacer’s sick- 

A crowd had collected. For 
the second time in his short 
career Pennell knew what it 
must be like to be in a car crash 
. . . people looking at you with 
a fascinated horror, trying to 
turn away but being unable to. 
He clawed at his tunic collar. 
Hands unbuttoned it for him. 

A nd then he saw a face in the 
crowd. It seemed to leap out 
in sudden focus, the rest of the 
faces blurring away to grayness. 
It was the kid from the coffee 
bar — the Colson kid. 

This is all I want, he thought 
savagely. The kid wouldn’t sort 
hirft out now, surely. But after, 
while there was still a crowd 
about, he might. And that could 
have one of two effects, both 
highly not to be desired. At best, 
it could turn the crowd from pity 
to sympathy. There was a big 
difference. Pity had the required 
ingredient of contempt. At the 
worst, it could be the focus of a 
riot — a real riot. 

“Just — just prop me against 
a wall,” he murmured. Hands 
lifted, carried him. 

“Give me air.” 

The crowd stumbled back. 
There must be hundreds of 
them. But he couldn’t see 
Johnny Colson’s face among 



them now. Perhaps he had only 
imagined it, he told himself. A 
slight, but unpredictable, hal- 
lucinogenesis was one of the 
side-effects of haemoxin. 

“I’m sure we ought to call an 
ambulance,” said the man who 
had first come to his aid. 

“No — I’ve got some pills.” 
He groped inside his tunic and 
brought out his wallet. Fumbling 
it open, he took out an anti- 
haemoxin pill. He swallowed it, 
and made sure that everyone 
got a view of the multi-colored 
array of capsules in the wallet 
before he folded it shut and 
stowed it back in his pocket. He 
heard someone whisper, “See 
that? He’s got a regular medicine 
chest in there.” 

“That’s better,” he said. “I’ll 
get over it in a few minutes." 

“How come they keep you in 
the Space Service if you get 
turns like this?” 

“Huh — that’s a good one! 
They wouldn’t be able to run a 
Space Service if they sacked 
every man who got the sickness. 
It’s all the gravity changes. Sure, 
your body adapts, but it always 
gets back at you.” 

“Funny. I’ve read a lot about 
what it’s like out there, but I 
never read about that.” 

“Course you don’t. D’you 
think they’d get so many volun- 
teers if they let everybody know 
about it?” 

The man looked suddenly iller 
than Pennell had felt during the 
entire episode of his “seizure”. 

“What’s wrong?” Pennell ask- 
ed him. 

“Only that both my boy* 
have volunteered. Course, they 
haven’t got much chance of be-‘ 
ing taken. All the same . . . I’ll 
have to tell them. That there’s 
a lot they don’t know, I mean.” 
Pennell wasn’t going to let 
him get away as easily as that. 

“Hey, don’t go round giving 
people a bad impression of the 
Service. They give you these 
pills. As long as you don’t make 
a habit of them, it’s all right.” 
“How do you mean — habit?” 
“Perhaps I shouldn’t have 
said that. I mean if you rely on 
them too much. I know one old- 
timer — he must be pushing 
forty — who takes ten a day. 
Which is all right while it lasts, 
but of course — ” 

“Of course what?” the man al- 
most screamed now. 

“Well, the old heart can’t take 
that kind of thing too long, can 
it? One day it’s pift — and out 
the airlock feet first.” 

The man gulped. 

“I’m okay now,” said Pennell. 
“Help me up.” He deliberately 
didn’t frame it as a request. 
Neither, when he was back on 
his feet, did he thank the man, 
but turned away from him as he 
buttoned up his tunic. 



When he turned back the man 
was gone — home hotfoot to re- 
port to his boys, Pennell trusted. 
Most of the crowd had gone, too. 
Pennell dusted himself down and 
went to walk off. 

And then he saw him again 
— the Colson kid, standing 
•cross the street, watching him 
from the shadow of a shop door- 


"Pennell let his eyes travel past 
-*■ the boy, telling himself that 
this was nothing to worry about. 

With the crowds gone, any 
danger was past. If the kid want- 
ed a fight, that was all right 
by him. It would be a fight he 
couldn’t lose — in more senses 
than one. He had backed down 
in the coffee bar. Now if he beat 
him up, he would earn an equal 
dividend of disfavor. But the kid 
would have to start it. 

He walked off down the street. 

He hadn’t gone far before he 
knew that the kid was following 
him. He stopped in a shop door- 
way — the kind of arcade en- 
trance with windows at an angle 
to the sidewalk. By its reflec- 
tion he saw the kid, fifty yards 
behind him, stop too. A good 
day for window-shoppers, Pen- 
nell thought. 

He walked on. He came to a 
•upermarket that was open and 

went in. It wasn’t very full. 
There was no chance of dodging 
anyone here. When he came out, 
the kid was standing across the 
road, a sardonic smile on his 

A cab\ That was the answer. 
But he didn’t remember seeing 
one about the place. There must 
be one or two in the town, but 
their drivers had probably taken 
themselves off the road during 
the trouble. Perhaps they had 
been wrecked. 

It was no way out, in any case. 
Bonfield was too small a place to 
lose yourself in for long. Why 
did he want to lose himself, any- 
way? It gave him something to 
occupy his mind while he wan- 
dered round the place. There was 
nothing much he could do now, 
except watch and wait. He 
wasn’t experienced enough to be 
certain, but he could swear that 
the tension was going out of the 
town. Which meant his job was 
nearly done. 

All the same, he felt a nag- 
ging disquiet. If the kid wanted 
a fight, why didn’t he come up 
and start one? 

He set off again. The kid fol- 
lowed him at the same kind of 
distance as before, too far away 
for Pennell to call out to him 
without attracting attention. If 
anything did start, he must avoid 
giving any impression that he 
had picked on the kid. 



But after an hour of it, Pennell 
had had enough. He stopped and 
turned round to face the kid. 

The kid stopped too. He just 
stood there, in the middle of 
tile sidewalk, his hands hanging 
easily by his side, the same sar- 
donic smile on his face. Pennell 
swore under his breath, and took 
a step towards him. The kid 
didn’t move. But when Pennell 
started to walk towards him, he 
turned and walked across the 
road. He stopped and turned. 

Pennell had already stopped. 
There was no future in this. He 
turned and went on. There was 
only one answer — he would 
have to contact Howe. It was 
about time he bailed him out, 
anyway. Howe would know to a 
degree if their mission had suc- 
ceeded. They could pack up and 
walk out of this town without 
worrying about crazy kids or 
anything else. 

T T e found the police station 
A easily enough. As he walked 
up the steps to it, he glanced 
over his shoulder. The kid was 
still following him. Well, per- 
haps now, when he saw where 
Pennell was going, he would have 
second thoughts. 

The desk sergeant looked at 
him curiously as Pennell enter- 

“I believe you have a buddy 
of mine in charge,” Pennell said. 

“Not any more. We let him 


“About twenty minutes ago. 
The chief decided not to charge 
him. We expected half the town 
to come demanding his release. 
Him being a Spacer, I mean. But 
we didn’t get a soul in. He must 
have made a hell of a nuisance 
of himself. He certainly did in 

Pennel felt suddenly disquiet - 
ened. He needed Howe, and the 
broken-down ham had to disap- 
pear. He felt annoyed at himself 
for feeling at a loss over such a 
small matter as the Colson kid. 
But he did his best to sound un- 

“Well — you know how it is. 
Back on Earth for leave.” 

“Yeah, but it must be a hell 
of a life out there to make a 
man cut up the way he did. 
Funny. I dreamed once of get- 
ting out there myself.” The ser- 
geant looked down at his ample 
waistline and coughed. 

Pennell humored him. “It’s a 
tough life, all right. Not all star- 
light and roses.” He changed the 
subject. “How are things in 

“How d’you mean?” 

“I wondered if the chief might 
be imposing a curfew tonight.” 

“A curfew?” The sergeant star- 
ed at him as if it was a word in 
Martian. “You must be nuts.” 



“I just wondered.” Pennell felt 
slightly better. That seemed to 
confirm his impression that the 
danger point had been passed. 
But it still left the small problem 
of the Colson kid. He looked 
out of the window. There was no 
sign of him. But, when he put his 
face close to the glass and squin- 
ted down the street, he cursed. 
The kid was standing on the 

He turned back to the ser- 
geant. “Is there another way out 
of this place? A back entrance, 

The sergeant looked at him 
quizzically. “What, you want to 
avoid your fans?” He looked out 
into the empty street and smirk- 
ed sarcastically. But he came out 
from behind his desk and showed 
Pennell along a corridor. He 
pushed open a door at the end 
of it. 

“Thanks,” Pennell said. 

He was in a yard. A couple of 
cops were lounging in a squad 
car. They looked at him with 
minimal interest as he turned 
and went round the building. 

He moved quietly and came 
up to the Colson kid from be- 

“Well, sonny, what do you 

The boy turned quickly. But 
if he was startled, he didn’t show 
it. He merely grinned. 

"Just waiting for the next act.” 

r t was Pennell who was start- 
led, and he was sure that 
he didn’t conceal it at all. What 
did he do now? Try and pass 
it off, tell the kid to beat it? 
But if the kid did suspect some- 
thing that would be fatal. 

“Well?” he said, as evenly as 
he could. 

“I’ve got a cousin in Fenton,” 
the boy went on. 

“What’s that? A prison?” 
“You can lay off the act, mis- 
ter,” the boy said. “This is in- 
termission time. Fenton’s a 
small town up north, about two 
hundred miles from here. They 
had some kind of trouble up 
there, too, about a year ago. My 
cousin wrote to me about it. He 
said they had quite a ball while 
it lasted. My parents come from 
Fenton, and my uncle sends the 
local paper on every week. So, 
the week after, when I get the 
paper, what do I do? I look for 
the news splashed all over the 
front page. And what do I find? 
Nothing. Except, inside, the 
police court reports just happen 
to be about three times longer 
than usual. But scatttered 
through the paper, instead of be- 
ing in one chunk. And no word 
about any riots. So I think — 
either my crummy cousin was 
dreaming, or else the town coun- 
cil don’t like things like that be- 
ing splashed all over the place. 
And I would have forgotten all 



about it, even when things start- 
ed to blow up here. I mean, 
things like that can happen any- 
where, I guess. Only — ” 

“Only — ?” Pennell said, his 
mouth dry. 

“Only, my cousin also said, in 
the same letter, that a couple 
of Spacers had turned up in 
town. He just put it in a P.S. and 
I remember I was mad at him, 
going on about some stupid old 
riots and leaving the important 
news till the end — and in a 
couple of lines. He just said, 
‘Two Spacers arrived in town. 
They were creeps.’ I was so mad 
I wrote him a stinking letter, 
then I thought that anyone who 
could write about Spacers like 
that wasn’t worth wasting time 
and paper on, so I tom it up.” He 
looked a bit shame-faced. “I’m 
telling you the way I felt then.” 
“And how do you feel now?” 
Pennell said, quietly. 

“It isn’t so much what I feel. 
It’s what I think.” He looked 
straight into Pennell’s eyes. “It’s 
what I know.” 

r T''here was only one thing for 
it, Pennell knew now. He 
would have to find Howe. Rule 
Nine. In case of emergency con- 
tact the Senior Officer. 

He grabbed the kid’s arm. 
“You’re coming along with me.” 
The boy winced under Pen- 
nell’s grip, but he grinned. “Sure, 

take me to your leader. But lay 
off piy arm, will you?” 

Pennell let go of his arm, but 
watched him warily. The kid 
made no attempt to escape. He’s 
enjoying this, Pennell thought 
vehemently. He certainly wasn’t. 
Only his second assignment, and 
he had muffed it. He had visions 
of ruthless top-level action, of 
agents — real agents, the kind 
with lean jaws and flat pistols 

— embarking on midnight jets. 
Of Special Branch toppling in 
mins, all because of him. 

He braced himself. “Come on,” 
he said to the kid. Where to, 
he didn’t know. And then he did 
know, and cursed himself for let- 
ting this incident jolt him so bad- 
ly. Of course l He looked at his 
watch. It was four o’clock. The 
bars weren’t open for the even- 
ing yet. He could hardly picture 
Howe sitting in some cafe sip- 
ping tea. Luckily they were head- 
ing the right way. He remember- 
ed seeing the place that morning. 

Sure enough, Howe was there 

— in the lounge of the town’s 
one hotel. He was acting with 
comforting normality, too — 
arguing with a white-jacketed 
waiter at the top of his voice. 

As the waiter departed, Howe 
spotted Pennell and the boy. 

“Ah, guests!” He waved them 
into chairs at his table. “I just 
gained a victory over that re- 
luctant servitor of Bacchus. At 



least, I think I did. I ordered two 
glasses, too, in the hope you 
would locate me shortly.” He 
cast an eye at the kid. “To what 
do we owe the pleasure of this 
stripling’s company, though?” 

“I think he’d better tell you 
himself,” Pennell said hollowly. 

The boy started talking. 

Before very long it was obvi- 
ous that he knew — that he had 
worked it out Pennell watch- 
ed Howe desperately, but the 
other’s craggy face gave no sign 
of emotion as the boy’s version 

The boy didn’t have all the de- 
tails, of course. He couldn’t have. 
Nobody, except a few hundred 
people whose job it was to 
know, had any idea of how des- 
perate a problem it was. 

Man had been in space for 
fifty years now — really in space. 
First the Moon; soon after, 
Mars and Venus. On all three he 
had gained a precarious foot- 
hold. A foothold that was main- 
tained only at enormous cost. 
Rockets alone were expensive 
enough, but the cost of fuel 
alone meant that every kilogram 
of payload cost thousands to 
transport to the Outpost Planets. 
There weren’t enough things of 
enough value out there to justify 
that kind of money. 

And men were payload. 

There was talk of new drives 
that would cut transit time and 

cost to a fraction . . . but there 
had been talk like that for de- 
cades now. It was still in the 
verbal stage. 

The painful and ironic fact 
was that there was a bottleneck 
in space — of all places. 

There had been a bottleneck 
in many other endeavors in 
man’s history. Always somebody 
had turned up with a means of 
breaking it. It had happened 
with the automobile, a rich man’s 
toy until Ford had brought it 
within the range of every man’s 
pocket — by mass-production. 
But nobody yet had found a way 
of mass-producing spaceships. 
The budgets of the world creak- 
ed under the burden. And only 
ten thousand people were in 
space or on the planets yet — 
after fifty years. 

And there were nearly five 
billion people on Earth, most 
of whom would have given their 
right arms for the chance to get 
out there. Space had been plug- 
ged too hard for too long by all 
the interested parties — for sci- 
entific, industrial, financial, na- 
tional or plain personal motives 
— the image polished too bright. 
The image called to far more 
people than the traffic could 
bear. Frustration had bred a par- 
ticularly dangerous kind of 
claustrophobia — one that could, 
if it got out of hand, become 



'■"p'hat was how Special Branch 
had come into being — to 
tarnish the image at those times 
that the danger bell rang, when 
all that bottled-up frustration 
exploded in violence. 

It was an oddball remedy for 
a tricky problem — but it work- 
ed. At least, it had so far. It was 
just a matter of applying the 
remedy at the right point at the 
right time, before the situation 
spread. In that respect it was no 
different from any other riot 
situation in history. But this was 
a recurrent pattern — one that 
could be plotted. 

Special Branch had learned 
quickly. A team of two had 
proved to be enough. More 
created suspicion; there weren’t 
that number of spacemen, and 
only a small fraction of them on 
Earth at any one time. 

“ — so I suddenly saw,” the 
boy was saying, “how it was. Just 
as I’ve said.” 

The waiter arrived then with 
a bottle of scotch and two glass- 
es. “Been distilling . it?” Howe 
asked him sweetly. The waiter 
glared and departed. Howe 
smacked his lips, but it was Pen- 
nell who grabbed at the bottle. 
Howe glanced at him chidingly. 
Pennell’s hand shook slightly as 
he poured out. 

There was a long silence. 

“Of couse,” Howe said at last, 
beaming over his glass at the 


Colson kid, “you know what we 
have to do now? You’re quite 
right, we are agents. But, of 
course, we can’t let people 
know that. So what will it be? 
Poison or cold steel?” 

The boy blinked nervously. 
But Pennell had to admire his 
gunts. “So what?” the boy said 
with only a small tremor in his 
voice. “You can’t keep it a secret 
for ever. Other people will find 

“You’re quite right,” Howe 
told him. “Other people will. 
Other people have. But not 
many. And we have our ways of 
silencing them.” He reached in 
his pocket and pulled out — a 

A tear-off pad! Pennell’s world 
started to crumble at the edges. 
He gaped at Howe. 

“What’s your name, son?” 
How asked the boy. 

“Colson. John Colson.” 

“Date of birth?” 

“Thirty-first of May, two 
thousand and nine.” 

Howe filled in the details and 
handed the pad to the boy, to- 
gether with his pen. 

“Sign this.” 

The boy stared at the paper 
then at Howe, his eyes widening 
in diebelief. “But — but this is 
an enlistment form. r ' 

“Well, do you want to sign it 
or not?” 

“Do /!” He signed it as if 


expecting to see it disappear at 
any moment. 

Howe tore a carbon from 
under the top sheet and handed 
it over. “Take that to your near- 
est Space Office.” He added 
dryly, “if you look at the small 
print, you’ll see that it swears 
you to secrecy about any aspect 
of the Service. Any aspect.” 

“Do you think I’d breathe a 
word to anyone?” 

T>ennell watched the boy dis- 
appear through the revolv- 
ing doors. He gulped down his 

Howe guffawed. “Don’t look 
so surprised! What do you ex- 
pect the Service to do — atomize 
him or something?” 

“Will they? Is that what it is 
— a trick?” 

“Of course not. Branch are 
devious, but not that devious. 
He’ll start basic training next 

“But — ” 

“Now you know why you have 
to report to your senior officer 
in emergencies. This is the kind 
of emergency they mean. As I 
told the kid just now, it doesn’t 
happen very often. Only fifteen 
times so far in the three years 
of Special Branch. Johnny Col- 
son’s the sixteenth.” 

“It’s a kind of blackmail,” 
Pennell said slowly. “And 
Branch pays off.” 

“If you like. But only because 
they can afford to. The intake 
is eight hundred a year, and out 
of the millions of applications 
the Service gets, that can’t help 
to be more than slightly random 
— even taking the cream. So five 
a year getting in by the back 
door is neither here nor there.” 

Pennell felt suddenly indig- 
nant. He wanted to get into 
space too, like those millions of 
other people. He thought he had 
played it clever — and all he had 
got himself into was this weird 
backwater of a service. And yet 
this kid had just walked out of 
here with a precious enlistment 
paper in his hand! 

“That’s damn fine way to get 
recruits,” he exploded. 

“Funny you should say that,” 
Howe said. “Eleven out of the 
fifteen passed out of basic train- 
ing in the highest grade. Two 
hadn’t finished the course the 
last time I looked at the figures. 

'£ other two were only very 
good. You see, it seems that any- 
body who does spot just what’s 
going on is possessed of a very 
rare quality in this mass- 
produced age — initiative. So 
Johnny Colson had a cousin in a 
town the same thing happened 
to, so you think that’s lucky, 
maybe? But most people have 
heard of these riots by now, even 
though the towns concerned 
clam up on them. But most 



people don't put two and two to- 

“But say a man who’s too old 
for space puts two and two to- 

Howe grinned crookedly. 
“Well, I hope I don’t look too 
old. I’ve always rather prided 
myself on — ” 

“You mean — you . . .?” 

Howe signed reminiscently. 
“It was a small town — just like 
Bonfield. Too damned small to 
have a theater, really. Which 
probably accounted for the man- 
ager decamping with the takings, 
leaving yours truly flat broke 
and stranded. .But it’s all fate, 
laddy. If the theater hadn’t been 
closed, it would probably have 
got wrecked when the rioting 
broke out. But that’s another 

He downed his drink, and 
laughed. “Johnny worked most 

of it out. I wonder whether he 
worked out the final bit — that 
neither of us have been in space 
at all? Perhaps he thinks that 
we’re just seconded to this job 
for twelve months or something. 
I can just see him going round 
when he passes out, trying to find 
the two men who gave him his 
big chance! I bet — ” 

He stopped, seeing the expres- 
sion on Pennell’s face. 

“Ah, well, that’s all in the 
realm of conjecture. Here and 
now we’ve the best part of a 
bottle to finish up before we re- 
port back for stand-by. 

Pennell brought himself back 
from far distances. “You’re darn 
right we have,” he muttered. 
“You can fill mine up — to the 

And this was one time he 
wasn't going to take a vecol. 



Next month IF goes monthly — featuring stories by 

E. E. SMITH, Ph.D. 
j. t. mcintosh 

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I feel quite sure that many of 
my readers, after Mercury 
flights, Vostok flights, American 
Explorer and Russian Kosmos 
satellites and TV programs via 
Telstar and Syncom, have quiet- 
ly wondered whether the other 
nations are going to sit back and 
watch the Russians race the 
Americans to the moon (or vice 


versa) or whether they have 
space plans of their own. 

The answer is that they do, 
and since items about space am- 
bitions of other nations hardly 
ever break out of the profes- 
sional journals — and are fairly 
rare even in those journals — it 
may be a good thing to do some 
reporting. But don’t expect any 
clear-cut time-tables for, say, 
France, or West Germany or the 
United Kingdom. They don’t 
exist yet, for a variety of reas- 

One of these reasons is a sim- 
ple and understandable one: 
lack of money in large quanti- 
ties. The other reason is that 
there is much talk about col- 
laboration between the West- 
European nations, coupled with 
a poorly hidden desire to do it 
independently. Still another reas- 
on for the general European un- 
certainty is the work already 
done (or in the planning stage) 
by the USA and the USSR. 

This was brought out recent- 
ly by a blistering editorial in 
the Mitteilungen de DGRR, the 
monthly reports of the German 
Society for Rocket Research and 
Space Travel. This is what the 
editor wrote: 

“Now work has begun in Eur- 
ope and also in Germany — but 
work to what purpose? It is a 
historical fact that — especially in 
Germany — too few people were 


seriously interested in space tra- 
vel prior to 1961. The large 
number of those who are new 
in the business lack general 
background knowledge as well 
as proper judgement. This very 
often has the result that things 
the Americans are doing today 
are set up as European goals, 
goals which could not be reached 
until a number of years has gone 
by and which, when finally 
achieved, will by then be obso- 
lete. It does not make much 
sense, for example, to make plans 
for a large number of communi- 
cation satellites in low orbits 
when it is absolutely certain that 
by that time a chain of American 
satellites in the 24-hour orbit 
will be operational. Nor is there 
any sense in the plans for a 100 
kilogram (220 pounds) instru- 
ment package to be soft-landed 
on the moon in 1972, when both 
the Americans and the Soviets 
are planning the same thing for 
the years 1964 and 1965 and are 
like to have a permanent 
manned base on the moon by 
1972. So far no European coun- 
try, nor any of the international 
European organizations, has of- 
fered any project for develop- 
ment which is not a copy of 
existing American projects.” 

I don’t know whether the edi- 
tor of the Mitteilungen had a 
discussion with General Walter 
Dornberger about half a dozen 


years ago when he paid a visit 
to his native country. After his 
return Dornberger told me that 
he had been asked to speak to 
various organizations on the 
question of what Europe could 
contribute to the Space Age. His 
answer had been about as fol- 
lows: “Just assume that the 
manned space station is in exist- 
ence and that a manned flight 
around the moon had been made. 
You sit down and think about 
what should be done afterwards 
and then do it.” 

It was good advice, but ap- 
parently it did not penetrate. 

TTowever, the very fact that 
A there are two nations which 
have advanced far beyond all 
the others opens another possi- 
bility: one of the countries that 
has not yet done much in the 
field of space research but feels 
competent to do so might do it 
in collaboration with one of the 
“Big Two”. Whether there is any 
such collaboration between the 
Soviet Union and one of the 
smaller countries behind the Iron 
Curtain is not known, but the 
western world has produced a 
number of examples. 

• There are now two satellites 
in orbit which are called “inter- 
national”. One of these two was 
designed and made in England 
(its name is Ariel') while the oth- 
er was designed and built in Can- 

ada (called Alouette-, French for 
“Skylark”). Both were fired 
from the Atlantic Missile Range 
at Cape Kennedy and carried 
into orbit by American rockets. 
The British-built Ariel, named 
by Prime Minister Harold Mac- 
Millan after the sprite in Shake- 
speare’s Tempest, was put into 
orbit on April 26, 1962 by a 
Thor-Delta rocket and is in an 
orbit which guarantees a life- 
time of at least a century; the 
perigee is 244 miles out and the 
apogee 760 miles. The orbital 
period is 101 minutes. The 
dome-shaped satellite has a dia- 
meter of 23 inches and is a lit- 
tle less than 11 inches high. Its 
purpose is to measure electron 
density in space (equipment 
designed by the University of 
Birmingham) and cosmic ray 
intensity (equipment by Im- 
perial College, London), and to 
establish the concentration of 
ions and electrons near the 
earth, as well as the intensity of 
X-rays and ultraviolet rays com- 
ing from the sun (equipment by 
University College, London, and 
the University of Leicester). 

The Canadian Alouette, put 
into orbit on September 28, 
1962 by a Thor-Agena B rocket, 
is heavier than Ariel; Alouette 
weighs 320 pounds, Ariel only 
132 pounds. 

Alouette looks circular (dia- 
meter 42 inches) when seen 




Overall length (inches) 

Nose cone length (inches) 

Payload space (cubic feet) 
Burning time (seconds) 

Thrust (pounds) 

Rocket weight, empty, (pounds) 
Takeoff, without payload (pounds) 

Black Brant I 

Black Brant n 















from top and nearly oval 
(height 34 inches) when seen 
from the side. It is the satellite 
with the longest antennas, one 
75 feet long and the other 150 
feet. The satellite has been 
dubbed a “topside sounder” 
since its purpose is to detect 
cosmic noise and natural radio 
signals originating in the earth’s 
ionosphere; it reports on such 
electronic noises from outside; 
hence its designation. The or- 
bit of Alouette can justly be 
called circular since the perigee 
distance is 620 miles and the 
apogee distance 640 miles. 

Canada has its own rocket 
range, located at Fort Churchill, 
Manitoba, a site originally picked 
for American high-altitude re- 
search rockets (Aerobees and 
other types) during the Inter- 
national Geophysical Year. The 
conditions laid down then were 
that the firing site should be 
as far to the north as possible 
and located in a sparsely set- 

tled section of the country. To 
these considerations a third one, 
of a practical nature, had to be 
added, namely that the place 
should be accessible by rail for 
transporting the rockets and 
other equipment. Since Fort 
Churchill was then the north- 
ernmost place in Canada that 
could be reached by rail this 
site was chosen. 

A Canadian rocket now being 
tested at the Fort Churchill 
range is called Black Brant. The 
second version of this rocket has 
carried instrument payloads 
weighing 150 pounds to altitudes 
between 150 and 180 miles. The 
Black Brant rockets are solid 
fuel rockets and the design con- 
siderations said, “Reliability 
first; high payload capacity and 
high altitude capacity are sec- 
ondary.” Black Brant III is go- 
ing to be a larger version of 
Black Brant II, but Black Brant 
TV will be a two-stage rocket, 
expected to be able to lift a pay- 



lead of 250 pounds to around 

600 miles. 

While the Black Brant rockets 
are a purely Canadian develop- 
ment which have nothing to do 
with international cooperation 
with the USA, there are. of 
course, also agreements of co- 
operation between the USA and 

In general the policy of the 
United States for such interna- 
tional ventures is that no funds 
will change hands though the 
USA may supply the rockets in 
some cases. And the condition 
is that all the results of such 
cooperations will be published 
in scientific journals which are 
available to any scientist with- 
out regard to nationality. 

/^vne such scientific coopera- 
^ tion has been going on for 
some time between the United 
States and Sweden. The roc- 
kets used were American Nike- 
Cajun solid fuel high altitude 
sounders as well as American 
solid fuel ARACS rockets. 
Launching site was the area of 
Kronogard, and the main ob- 
ject of the four Nike-Cajun 
shots was the study of the very 
high noctilucent clouds. Two 
were fired while noctilucent 
clouds were present in the sky 
and the two others when such 
clouds were not present. The 
measurements were made at al- 

titudes between 50 and 55 miles 
and the temperatures at these 
altitudes were found to be ex- 
tremely low: minus 120° centi- 
grade when no noctilucent 
clouds were present, and minus 
143° centigrade when they were 

Sweden is also going to be the 
site of a far northern space re- 
search range, to be established 
near the town of Kiruna, which 
is north of the Arctic Circle. The 
cost of this range is to be divided 
among the eleven nations of 
ESRO (European Space Re- 
search Organization) which are: 
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, 
France, Germany (West), Great 
Britain, Italy, Norway, Spain, 
Sweden and Switzerland. No 
date has been set for its com- 

Another international rocket 
range was formally opened with 
a shot of a Nike-Apache sound- 
ing rocket in November, 1963. 
The name of the site is Thumba, 
located at the southern tip of 
India. It is not quite an equa- 
torial range since India does not 
reach that far south, but it is 
within less than 10 degrees of 
the equator. Four Nike-Apache 
rockets were supplied by NASA, 
plus a loan of a launcher and 
photographic equipment, and 
the Indian personnel was trained 
by NASA. The Indians supplied 
the launching site — available 



for scientific work by any na- 
tion — and tiie scientific pay- 
loads, in this case devices re- 
leasing sodium vapors for the 
investigation of high altitude 
winds. While the Indian rocket 
range could not be placed on the 
geographic equator it is located 
on the magnetic equator, which 
is useful for later shots devoted 
to investigation of the earth’s 
magnetic field. 

r T~'he most interesting of these 
joint projects is the Italian 
San Marco Project, designed to 
put a satellite into an equatorial 

Some of the existing satellites, 
mainly American Explorer satel- 
lites, are said to be in equatorial 
orbits, but this is a somewhat 
loose designation, it merely 
means that the inclination of the 
satellite’s orbit to the equator 
is small. The San Marco satel- 
lite is to be in an equatorial orbit 
in the strict sense of the word, 
staying over the equator all the 
way round. And the simplest 
way of establishing such an or- 
bit is to shoot due East from a 
point at the equator. In the San 
Marco Project this will be done 
by firing from a towable plat- 
form at the equator off Africa’s 
East Coast. 

The San Marco Project has 
three phases, the first being the 
firing of test satellites (for 

checking telemetry and so forth) 
along sub-orbital trajectories 
from Wallops Island (off Vir- 
ginia). A rocket called Shot put 
was used, it is a two-stage all 
solid fuel rocket with a take-off 
thrust of 120,000 pounds. The 
first Shotput was fired on April 
20, 1963. It was one of those 
shots which look perfect to the 
eye, but the telemetry tapes lat- 
er inform you that it wasn’t; 
in this case the payload kept 
spinning though it was not sup- 
posed to. In the second Shotput 
shot, carried out from Wallops 
Island on August 2, 1963. the 
eyes of the observers and the 
telemetry tapes agreed. It was 
a perfect shot, carrying the 
177.5-pound test satellite to an 
altitude of 183 miles and 606 
miles down-range where it 
splashed into the Atlantic; no re- 
covery was planned. The first 
phase of the San Marco Pro- 
ject will close with a third Shot- 
put launching from the platform. 

But meanwhile the second 
phase will have been carried out, 
which is putting a San Marco 
satellite into orbit by means of 
a Scout rocket, but fired from 
Wallops Island. This shot will 
not produce an equatorial or- 
bit but will be a test of the satel- 
lite. The third phase, finally, 
will be the firing of a Scout roc- 
ket from the towable platform to 
put a San Marco satellite into an 



equatorial orbit. Because of the 
rocket used and the weight of 
the satellite it will be a fairly 
low orbit, with an average dis- 
tance from the ground of about 
200 miles. 

Coming to the nations which 
have built, and are building, 
rockets without United States 
aid, one gets into the difficulty 
that it is not easy to tell whether 
a specific rocket — no matter 
what it may be called — is 
meant for high altitude and ul- 
timately for space research, or 
whether it is a prototype of a 
military rocket, or whethei a 
specific rocket shot was just a 
political gesture. 

Israel’s Shavit II (shavit is 
Hebrew for “comet”) is a case 
in point. Fired on July 5, 1961, 
the rocket climbed to a height 
of 50 miles, releasing sodium va- 
por at the peak of its flight, but 
did not carry any scientific in- 
struments. It was announced 
that it was all solid fuel and 
“all Israeli-made”, but nothing 
else was said. The launching 
site was “at the Mediterranean 
shore”, but no location was giv- 
en. It had either two or three 
stages. The question of whether 
there had been a Shavit I was 
not answered. And nothing else 
has happened since — which 
leads one to conclude that the 
rocket most likely was a proto- 
type of a weapon and that that 


particular shot was meant to 
show Nasser that Israel did have 

\ s for Egypt, it is the only 
country — aside from the 
USA — which has directly em- 
ployed German rocket scientists 
who did their research during 
the second World War. 

In the years immediately fol- 
lowing the war a group of Ger- 
mans worked in Egypt for the 
openly announced purpose of 
developing modern anti-aircraft 
rockets. By the year 1955 an- 
other group of Germans took 
over, and in July, 1963, the 
United Arab Republic paraded 
several missiles. One, an anti- 
aircraft weapon, was the Rus- 
sian-made SA-2, radar guided 
and burning solid fuel. The oth- 
ers were liquid fuel ground to 
ground missiles, named A1 Zafir 
(Victory), Ai Kahir (Conquer- 
or) and AI Ared (Pioneer), the 
latter one being a two stage mis- 
sile. It was said at the time that 
AI Zafir and AI Kahir had a 
range of from 300 to 360 miles 
but that AI Ared was yet to be 

Only a month later it was an- 
nounced that AI Ared would be 
made into a three-stage rocket 
so that it could place a scienti- 
fic satellite, called “The Star”, 
into orbit. The satellite is also 
built by Germans working in 
Cairo under Dr. Hassan Marie, 


the chairman of Egypt’s Com- 
mittee for Space Research. 
Nothing is known so far about 
the scientific functions of this 
satellite — its political function 
is obvious — nor about its in- 
tended orbit. But it has been 
stated that the shot is to be 
carried out on July 23. 1964, 
which is the anniversary of the 
Egyptian revolution which put 
Gamal Abdel Nasser into power. 

Before going on to western 
Europe a quick look to the Far 
East, namely Japan, is neces- 
sary. The Japanese began their 
study of high-altitude rockets 
with a series of tiny rockets 
called “Pencil”. They were 
hardly larger, though much 
thicker, than an ordinary pen- 
cil. That was in April, 1955. 
Later in the same year they 
built a series of rockets called 
“Baby”, which were three and 
four feet in length, still quite 
small. Their first real project, 
in the sense that these rockets 
were expected to yield scientific 
data, was called Kappa, five 
inches in diameter and seven to 
eight feet in length. 

Kappa rockets were used dur- 
ing the International Geophysi- 
cal Year, along with Sigma roc- 
kets which were smaller, weigh- 
ing only 22 pounds, but were 
released after balloons had car- 
ried them to great heights. 

The largest of the Kappa roc- 

kets, Kappa 9 L, reached a max- 
imum altitude of 236 miles and 
fell into the Japan Sea 391 miles 
from the firing site at Akita, 
located in the northern portion 
of Honshu Island’s west coast. 

After that several things hap- 
pened. The range of the Kappa 
9 L was almost enough to reach 
Vladivostok or Olga, on the 
Asian mainland, which could 
easily lead to international com- 
plications. Hence the Japanese 
built a new firing site at Kago- 
shima near the southern end of 
Kyushu Island, where there is 
plenty of open sea. Then they 
sold a number of Kappa 6 roc- 
kets to the Yugoslav Astronomi- 
cal Association. This rocket is 
capable of carrying an instru- 
ment load of 22 pounds to near- 
ly 40 miles of altitude. Then 
they started out on the develop- 
ment of Lambda, which is a solid 
fuel booster 25 feet long and 
about two feet in diameter, cap- 
able of producing 42 tons of 
thrust for 18 seconds. A Kappa- 9 
rocket with a Lambda booster 
should be able to put a small 
satellite into orbit. 

In between the Japanese have 
also entered into an arrangement 
with NASA which furnished 
Nike-Cajun rockets for ionos- 
phere research. And, in addi- 
tion to all this, the Japanese 
have developed a number of 
military missiles of their own. 



One is the TLRM, a two-stage 
anti-aircraft missile looking 
somewhat like our Nike-Her- 
cules, while the other, the 
XAAM-A-3, could be called the 
Japanese version of the Side- 
winder missile, an air to air 
weapon, equipped with an infra- 
red homing device. 

A mong the west European 
countries the one with the 
most clearcut space program is 
France. It is a little known fact 
that one of France’s aviation 
pioneers, Robert Esnault-Pel- 
terie, was working on the design 
of a high altitude rocket during 
the years from 1935 to 1939. 

The outbreak of the second 
World War prevented Esnault- 
Pelterie from finishing his roc- 
ket. German rocket experts who 
saw it have expressed the opinion 
that it could easily have reached 
the design altitude of 60 miles: 
if the second World War had 
started a year later we would 
now consider the high-altitude 
sounding rocket a French inven- 
tion. And after the war the 
French were the first west Euro- 
pean nation to come up with a 
liquid fuel research rocket of 
their own, the Veronique. 

If I did not have the word of 
Prof. E. Vassy of the University 
of Paris that the design was de- 
rived from that of the V-2, I 
would have thought that it was 

an updated version of Esnault- 
Pelterie’s rocket, Veronique, 24 
feet tall and with a diameter erf 
21.5 inches, burned Diesel oil 
with nitric acid. Its empty weight 
was 772 pounds, take-off weight 
2200 pounds, the highest alti- 
tude reached by the first series 
of Veronique rockets — on Feb- 
ruary 21, 1964 — was 84 miles. 
The second series saw a change 
in fuel, turpentine was substitut- 
ed for Diesel oil with a fifty per 
cent increase in altitude. 

French plans comprise the 
development of three high-alti- 
tude rockets, a guided (and lar- 
ger) Veronique, Vesta and Rubis, 
the development of a French 
satellite (simply called FR. 1) 
and the launching of at least 
two FR. 1 satellites, one by 
means of a NASA Scout and 
one by a French Diamant roc- 
ket, which is 66 feet long with 
a liquid fuel first stage and solid 
fuel upper stages. But in spite of 
the intensive work carried on, 
the French intend to participate 
in European space work, in the 
ESRO (European Space Re- 
search Organization) as well as 
the ELDO (European Launcher 
Development Organization). 
General Robert Aubiniere, dir- 
ector of the Centre National 
<f Etudes Spatiales, stated i 
“France feels that space research 
should be planned on a Euro- 
pean basis. This concentration of 










of Payload 





Belier (Ram) 
















(weather rocket) 
















(second stage is Aigle) solid 




Veronique (guided) 















The figures for the performances of the guided Veronique, Vesta and Rubis are 

the design figures; for 

the other rockets these are actual performance figures. 

effort should allow Europe to re- 
cover its past scientific and tech- 
nical primacy.” 

A /S' oving across the Channel to 
Great Britain we find a 
country which has an exten- 
sive missile range, at Woomera 
in Australia, at its disposal and 
which has developed quite a 
number of smaller missiles, most 
of them anti-aircraft — but 
which has been curiously lag- 
ging, in spite of some promising 
beginnings, in the development 
of large rockets. 

These beginnings were two 
rockets named Black Knight and 
Blue Streak. The Black Knight 
rocket is about 35 feet tall, with 
a diameter of 3 feet, and was 
built by Saunders-Roe in col- 
laboration with the Royal Air- 

craft Establishment. It is pow- 
ered by a Bristol Siddeley Gam- 
ma-2 rocket engine, burning 
kerosene with concentrated hy- 
drogen peroxide. Its four thrust 
chambers produce a take off 
thrust of 16,400 pounds at sea 
level, which thrust increases to 
about 19,000 pounds in a va- 
cuum. The Black Knight has 
been used successfully on the 
Woomera range for the testing 
of re-entry nose cones and has 
carried such nose cones as high 
as 500 miles. Since the height of 
the nose cones has been kept 
secret it is impossible to judge 
how well the Black Knight 
would do as an instrument car- 
rying sounding rocket for very 
high altitudes. 

The other big British rocket 
was the Blue Streak, developed 



originally as an intermediate 
range (say 1500 miles) ballistic 
missile. The word “was” is due 
to the fact that, to everybody’s 
surprise, the British Government 
cancelled the Blue Streak as a 
missile in April, 1960. But the 
rocket exists, built by de Havil- 
land, powered by two Rolls- 
Royce RZ-2 rocket engines of 
137,000 pounds thrust each, burn- 
ing kerosene with liquid oxygen. 
The diameter of the rocket is 10 
feet, the overall length, including 
the engines, is 61 feet 6 inches. 
Since the cancellation of the 
Blue Streak as a missile removed 
much of the secrecy attached to 
it, British rocket enthusiasts 
suggested using a Black Knight 
as a second stage for a Blue 
Streak for the orbiting of a Bri- 
tish satellite. The Ministry of 
Supplies did not reply to this 
suggestion at all and the British 
satellite was orbited by an Amer- 
ican rocket. But late in 1960 the 
British Government offered the 
Blue Streak to France, for possi- 
ble use as the first stage of a 
joint European space rocket. 

And it is this fact which 
brings us to West Germany — 
for the West Germans think a 
great deal in terms of a Euro- 
pean satellite carrier. 

nphough the Germans made 
the big jump from experi- 
mental small rockets to the 


operational V-2 during the sec- 
ond World War, they were then 
cut off from rocketry for a long 
time. They were so much out 
off, as a matter of fact, that the 
Deutsches Museum in Munich, 
when it planned a Hall of Space, 
had to get a V-2 from the United 
States in order to make their ex- 

What happened was quite sim- 
ple, of course. The whole re- 
search and planning staff of the 
Peenemunde rocket research 
center came to the United States. 
A few others, like Dr. Eugen 
Sanger and Dr. Irene Bredt 
(later Mrs. Sanger) worked for 
the French for a while. A few of 
the younger men went to Egypt 
and others were old enough to 
retire. And a number of rocket 
experts who had worked in var- 
ious factories during the war 
later followed the trail to the 
United States and joined the 
men from Peenemunde. 

In addition to losing all the 
experts, Germany was a de- 
feated and occupied country for 
a number of years, not sovereign 
and therefore not free to engage 
in research which might be in- 
terpreted as military. The com- 
bination of all these circum- 
stances meant that the Germans 
entered the active space age lat- 
er than anybody else. And when 
Dr. Sanger returned to Germany 
to take over the post of director 


Fig. 1 Preliminary design sketch of a West German High-Altitude re- 
search rocket with flex wing for recovery and re-use. 

of research, he refrained from 
building rocket engines which 
would have been a duplication 
of other rocket engines, and con- 
centrated on ramjets and theore- 
tical work. 

But now the Germans want to 
do something. They have spent 
a great deal of thought on the 
design of a satellite which is ex- 
pected to be quite heavy (weight 
around 1.5 tons) but also quite 

versatile, capable of being used 
as a communications satellite, a 
meteorological satellite and a 
geodetic satellite. Since other 
satellite designs have progressed 
quite far, it may be doubted 
whether this design will ever be 
actually built. 

On the other hand a German 
design for a high altitude sound- 
ing rocket which is recoverable 
and reusable (see Fig. 1) may 



well be built. The final size of 
this rocket has not yet been de- 
termined, since it obviously can 
be built in various sizes; the pre- 
liminary design sketch has a 
peak altitude of 80 miles as the 
basis for all calculations. 

Another German design is con- 
cerned with a satellite-carrying 
rocket for the ELDO organiza- 
tion. The first stage of this de- 
sign is the British Blue Streak. 
The French have offered to 
build the second stage and the 
Germans would like to tackle 
the third stage which, because 
of the carrying capacity of the 
two lower stages, must not weigh 
over 10,000 pounds. Because 
of this restriction they have 
high energy fuels in mind, either 
liquid hydrogen with liquid oxy- 
gen, like the American Centaur, 
or, if at all possible, liquid hy- 
drogen with liquid fluorine. 

Personally I feel that it will 
be hydrogen and oxygen. Hydro- 
gen is a fuel which offers many 
problems. But as the American 
Centaur flight has shown, these 
problems can be overcome and 
hydrogen is only explosive but 
neither toxic nor corrosive, while 
fluorine is the most difficult of 
gll elements to handle. And the 
advantages of using fluorine are 
not very great. 

I have in front of me a tabula- 
tion of the German calculations 
for three possible stages, two of 

them for hydrogen and one for 
fluorine. They calculate a speci- 
fic impulse for vacuum condi- 
tions of 432 and 446 for the two 
kinds of hydrogen powered third 
stages, and a specific impulse of 
457 for the fluorine powered ver- 
sion. These 11-25 points hardly 
justify the extra problems and 
dangers the fluorine would pose. 

Well, that’s the picture as it 
stands at the end of 1963, fore- 
casting possible Egyptian, French 
and ELDO satellites. In the 
meantime the British are plann- 
ing and building two satellites 
tentatively called UK-2 and 
UK-3 which, when finished, will 
be put into orbit the way Ariel 
was put there. 


Any Questions ? 

In my logarithm table (print- 
ed in Europe) the mean distance 
from the sun, the astronomical 
unit, is given as 149.5 million 
kilometers. Expressed in statute 
miles this would be 92.894 mil- 
lion miles. But American books 
usually give the astronomical 
unit as 93 million miles, or as 
93,003,000 miles. Evidently the 
figure of 93 million miles is just 
a round figure. Could you give 
me a more precise figure which 
is generally accepted? 

Richard Mannheimer 
Denver, Colorado 



Yes, the figure of 93 million 
miles is a rounded-off figure for 
easy remembering and it is 
slightly too large. However, -the 
corrections which have been 
made during the last thirty years 
are on the order of 50,000 miles 
or less — which sounds small, 
especially if you remember that 
the first determination of the 
astronomical unit (by Giovanni 
Domenico Cassini of 1672, based 
on measurements during a Mars 
opposition) arrived at 138.4 mil- 
lion kilometers or 85,997,000 
miles. The next determination of 
1769, based on a transit of 
Venus, gave 151.6 million kilo- 
meters or 94,199,000 miles in 1873 
Johann Gottfried Galle in Ber- 
lin used an opposition of the 
minor planet Flora and arrived 
at 148.33 million kilometers or 
92,166 million miles. An opposi- 
tion of the minor planet Eros 
in 1930 gave the figure of 149.66 
million kilometers or 92.99 mil- 
lion miles (the origin of the fig- 
ure in most books). Gerard de 
Vaucouleurs, in 1961, arrived at 

149.829.000 kilometers or 92,- 

920.000 miles, while radar 
bounces from Venus, also in 
1961, gave 149,565,800 kilometers 
or 92,935,700 miles. 

I suspect that I learned the 
answer to my question in high 
school but that was, I regret to 
say, quite a number of years 


ago. My question is this: Christ- 
mas is always the 25th of De- 
cember, but Easter wanders back 
and forth across the calendar. 
Why? And how is the date of 
Easter determined? 

E. B. M. Barrett 
Coral Gables, Florida 

The reason why Easter does 
on a specific date is that 
the length of the year can- 
not be evenly divided into weeks, 
and Easter is to be a Sunday. 
The Council of Nicea (in 325 
A. D.) decided that Easter should 
be celebrated on the Sunday 
which follows the first full moon 
after the vernal equinox. The 
earliest possible Easter date, 
therefore, is the 22nd of March, 
while the latest possible Easter 
date is the 25th of April. 

The calculation of the date 
used to be a tedious job, until 
Carl Friedrich Gauss evolved a 
relatively simple formula which 
involves dividing the year by a 
set of numbers of which the first 
one is 19. Let us take the year 
1970 as an example. 1970 di- 
vided by 19 is 103 with 13 left 
over. Gauss’ formula works with 
these “leftovers” and assigns a 
letter to each one of them. 

Easter, according to this for- 
mula, falls on 


March ( 22+d+e ) 



April ( d+e 9 ) 

Now we have to find the 
values for d and e where the 
formula runs as follows: 

The remainder o f Year divided by 19 Is a 
The remainder of Year divided by 4 is b 
The remainder of Year divided by 7 is e 


2b + 4c + 6d + N 

e = 


the values of M and N depend 
on the year according to this 
table : 

1700 - 1799 M = 23 N = 3 
1800 - 1899 23 4 

1900 - 2099 24 5 

2100 2199 24 6 

One more provision has to be 
mentioned : if the derived date 
should read April 26 (one day 
beyond the possible limit) the 
date will be April 19. If the date 
is the limit of April 25, it is 
changed to April 18, provided 
that d-28 and a is larger than 
10. (All these provisions are 
needed to take care of leap 

Now let us carry the example 
through : 

Y/19, a = 13 
Y/ 4, b = 2 
Y/ 7, c = 3 

d = (247 + 24 = 271 : 30 = 9. remain- 
der 1) = 1. 

e = (4 + 12 + 6 + 5 = 27 ; 7 - 3, re- 
mainder 6) - 6. 

which produces the two possible 
dates of 

March (22 + 1 + 6) = 29 
April (14-6 = 7-9) + - 2 

The April date, being nega- 
tive, is impossible, hence the 
date for Easter for 1970 is 
March 29. 

In the May 1963 issue of the 
magazine Planetary and Space 
Science — I read my brother-in- 
law’s copy — there is a remark 
that Russian writers have said 
that The Book of the Secrets of 
Enoch contains a passage which 
may be interpreted as a refer- 
ence to a landing of extra-ter- 
restrials on earth. The author of 
the article considers this inter- 
pretation mistaken. I must con- 
fess that I had never heard of 
such a book before and I won- 
der whether you could find out 
something about it. 

Dorothy Steinfeld 

Orange, New Jersey 

I had read this article too and 
I also had never heard of the 
Book of the Secrets of Enoch, 
but one afternoon in the New 
York Public Library clarified 
things. Fortunately the book was 
translated into English in 1896 
by William Richard Morfill of 
Oxford University. It is one of 
a group of ancient writings 
which go under the general term 
of “apocalyptic writings” and 



the Enoch to whom it is attri- 
buted is the Enoch of Genesis 
V: 18-24, the father of Methu- 
selah and great grandfather of 
Noah. There are, as I learned 
from Mr. Morfill, two books of 
Enoch, one in Ethiopian and one 
in Slavonic but, again according 
to Mr. Morfill, they have noth- 
ing in common but the title. The 
Slavonic version is known in 
several copies, the most recent 
of which is a part of a Sbornik 
(collection) of the seventeenth 

The, book must have been 
written at about the time of 
Christ, for it is quoted in the 
so-called Epistle of Barnabas 
which is dated somewhere be- 
tween 70 and 90 A. D. and in 
a few writings which are a few 
years older than Barnabas. But 
the writer was evidently some- 
body who spoke Greek and in 
all probability, Greek only be- 
cause he told why Adam was 
given his name. According to 
this book the Lord wanted to 
indicate that Adam and his seed 
were to rule the earth, hence he 
was named after the four quar- 
ters of the earth which are : 
anatole (sunrise or east), dysis 
(sunset or west), arktos (north) 
and mesembria (south), hence 
a-d-a-m! That this little anagram 
works in Greek only and not in 
any other language did not oc- 
cur to the writer. 

The contents of the book are 
that Enoch is shown the heavens 
and that the Lord then decrees 
that Enoch shall be permitted 
to hear the sacred books. He is 
taken aside by the archangel 
Vretil (Morfill remarks that this 
name does not occur anywhere 
else; my Greek dictionary sup- 
plies the information that bretaa 
is the term for a wooden image 
of a god; this may or may not 
be the root word) who reads to 
him for thirty days and nights 
without stopping, Enoch taking 
down every word. Then he is 
returned to earth. 

All the time 1 was, of course, 
waiting for the passage which 
Russian writers, to whom the 
Book of Enoch is obviously more 
familiar than to us, had inter- 
preted as being a record of an 
extraterrestrial visit, Finally, 
near the very end, I found the 
only lines which could conceiv- 
ably be meant: 

LXVII (1) When Enoch has discoursed 
with the people, the Lord sent a dark- 
ness upon the earth, and there was a 
gloom, and it had those men standing 
with Enoch. (2) And the angel hasted 
and took Enoch and carried him to the 
highest heaven where the Lord secured 
him, and set him before his face, and 
the darkness departed from the earth 
and there was light. (3) And the people 
saw and did not understand how Enoch 
was taken, and they glorified God. And 
they who had seen such things de- 
parted to their houses. 

Since the whole work is one 



of religious imagery, the state- 
ment that Enoch was carried to 
the highest heaven while a su- 
pernatural darkness surrounded 
him can hardly be interpreted 
as having a physical meaning. 

As a matter of fact the whole 
last scene is just an elaboration 
of Genesis V: 24 “And Enoch 
walked with God; and he was 
not; for God took him.” And it 
is probably this line which 
caused the ancient Greek-speak- 
ing writer to single him out as 
the central character of his own 
work. Most of the other people 
mentioned in Genesis simply 

I understand that several air- 
craft manufacturers have plans 
for supersonic passenger jet- 
liners on the drawing boards 
which will be able to cross the 
United States in about two hours. 
But I have also heard that there 
is a movement afoot for not li- 
censing such airliners because of 
the noise problem. I can see that 
they must cause a lot of noise 
when they break through the 
sound barrier, but I don’t see 
why this could not be over the 
ocean at both ends of the trip. 

E. E. Farbstein 

Great Neck, Long Island 

First let me say that the term 
“sound barrier” is one of the 
most misleading and most mean- 

ingless terms ever coined. There 
is no such thing. When the pilot 
of one of our supersonic fighters 
or bombers passes the speed of 
sound he has to look at his in- 
strument panel to learn that he 
did. No sensation of any kind 
accompanies this so-called feat. 
It is sheer routine — if the plane 
is built for it. 

Then what is the “sonic boom” 
that rattles windows when a su- 
personic plane passes overhead? 
The truthful answer is that it is 
a shock wave, but since this 
term does not mean much to 
most people let’s take the whole 
problem more slowly — begin- 
ning with a propeller plane 
which travels at the rate of 300 
miles per hour or about 40 per 
cent of the speed of sound. 

Since the sound made by this 
plane is faster than the plane 
itself, the sound will travel 
ahead. To an observer on the 
ground the overall result is that 
he first hears a faint propeller 
noise from a distance, which 
then grows in volume, and is 
loudest when the plane is ap- 
proximately overhead. Then it 
diminishes at about the same 
rate at which it increased earlier. 

Now let us imagine a plane 
flying at precisely the speed of 
sound. (This cannot actually be 
done. An actual plane can stay 
below the speed of sound or it 
can fly faster than sound, but 



not at the speed of sound.) Since 
such a plane would move as fast 
as the noise it produces, its noise 
cannot travel ahead. Hence its 
approach could not be heard. To 
an observer on the ground the 
plane would approach noiseless- 
ly but then, when it is overhead, 
its noise would hit the observer 
with a sudden blow. As distinct 
from the gradual increase of the 
noise level of the subsonic plane, 
the noise from the plane travel- 
ling at the speed of sound would 
start at maximum intensity and 
then diminish gradually. 

The actual case of a plane fly- 

ing faster than the speed of 
sound is quite similar to the ex- 
ample of the plane flying at the 
speed of sound just given — ex- 
cept that it cannot yet be heard 
even when it is overhead. 

The diagram shows what hap- 
pens in the case of a plane fly- 
ing at twice the speed of sound, 
or, in figures, af the rate of 2200 
feet per second. But the noise 
made by the plane spreads only 
at the rate of 1000 feet per sec- 
ond. If we imagine the observer 
to be on the ground directly be- 
low the plane, at the line marked 
3 in the diagram, the plane has 



traveled 100 feet during the three 
seconds since it passed the zero 
line. But the noise produced 
three seconds ago at the zero line 
has travelled only 3300 feet. The 
noise made two seconds ago at 
the line marked 1 has spread 
only 2200 feet, and the noise 
made one second ago has spread 
for only 1100 feet. 

As can be seen, these expand- 
ing spheres of sound (which ap- 
pear as circles in the diagram) 
all fit into a cone which, in hon- 
or of the Austrian physicist 
Ernst Mach, is called the Mach 

All the noise produced by the 
plane is inside the Mach cone. 
Outside the cone complete sil- 
ence prevails — that is, as far as 
noise from that particular plane 
is concerned. So if you hear the 
“sonic boom”, it really means 
that you have just been envelop- 
ed by a Mach cone. 

Now we can get back to the 

problem of the supersonic air- 
liner. At take off and landing, 
when it is flying at far less than 
the speed of sound, the noise is 
the same as that of current jet- 
liners. But a number of minutes 
after takeoff the plane will be- 
come supersonic, and the Mach 
cone will begin to form and it 
will travel with the plane for 
the whole duration of its flight. 
For a flight across the ocean this 
probably won’t matter. But a 
cross-country flight is a different 

Naturally the Mach cone, like 
any shock wave, will be attenu- 
ated by distance. But normal fly- 
ing altitudes are, as we well 
know, not high enough. And 
simply increasing the flight alti- 
tudes would have the result that 
the passenger liners get into the 
high air lines now reserved for 
military traffic. But this is a dif- 
ferent problem. 


Coming Soon! 

The Best Science Fiction Stories 

from IF 

160-page paperbound collection of the best stories 
from the last few years of IF — your favorite writers 
with some of their top yarns of recent years. Watch 
for it on your newsstand — on sale soonl 







It would make a fine exhibit 
in someone's collection. Too 
bad it happened to be alive! 

tC^TThat are you doing there, 
’ * human?” 

“It’s a long story.” 

“Good, I like long stories. Sit 
down and talk. No — not on 

“Sorry. Well, it’s all because 
of my uncle, the fabulously 
wealthy — ” 

“Stop. What does ‘wealthy’ 

“Well, like rich.” 

“And ‘rich’?” 

“Hm. Lots of money.’ 

“What’s money?” 

“You want to hear this story 
or don’t you?” 

“Yes, but I’d like to under- 
stand it too.” 

“Sorry, Rock, I’m afraid I 

don’t understand it all myself.” 
“The name is Stone.” 

“Okay, Stone. My uncle, who 
is a very important man, was 
supposed to send me to the 
Space Academy, but he didn’t. 
/ He decided a liberal education 
was a better thing. So he sent me 
to his old spinster alma mater 
to major in nonhuman humani- 
ties. You with me, so far?” 

“No, but understanding is not 
necessarily an adjunct to ap- 

“That’s what I say. I’ll never 
understand Uncle Sidney, but I 
appreciate his outrageous tastes, 
his magpie instinct and his gross 
meddling in other people’s af- 
fairs. I appreciate them till I’m 


sick to the stomach. There’s 
nothing else I can do. He’s a 
carnivorous old family monu- 
ment, and fond of having his 
own way. Unfortunately, he also 
has all the money in the family 
— so it follows, like a xxt after a 
zzn, that he always does have his 
own way.” 

“This money must be pretty 
important stuff.” 

“Important enough to sent me 
across ten thousand light-years 
to an unnamed world which, in- 
cidentally, I’ve just named 

“The low-flying zatt is a 
heavy eater, which accounts for 
its low flying . . 

“So I’ve noted. That is moss 
though, isn’t it?” 


“Good, then crating will be 
less of a problem.” 

“What’s ‘crating’?” 

“It means to put something in 
a box to take it somewhere else.” 
“Like moving around?” 


“What are you planning on 

“Yourself. Stone.” 

“I’ve never been the rolling 
sort . . .” 

“Listen, Stone, my uncle is a 
rbck collector, see? You are the 
only species of intelligent miner- 
al in the galaxy. You are also 
the largest specimen I’ve spot- 
ted so far. Do you follow me?” 

“Yes, but I don’t want to.” 

“Why not? You’d be lord of 
his rock collection. Sort of a 
one-eyed man in a kingdom of 
the blind, if I may venture an in- 
appropriate metaphor.” 

“Please don’t do that, what- 
ever it is. It sounds awful. Tell 
me, how did your uncle learn 
of our world?” 

“One of my instructors read 
about this place in an old space 
log. He was an old space log col- 
lector. The log had belonged to 
a Captain Fairhill, who landed 
here several centuries ago and 
held lengthy discourses with 
your people.” 

“Good old Foul Weather Fair- 
hill! How is he these days? Give 
him my regards — ” 

“He’s dead.” 


“Dead. Kaput. Blooey. Gone. 

“Oh my! When did it happen? 
I trust it was an esthetic oc- 
currence of major import — ” 

“I really couln’t say. But I 
passed the information on to my 
uncle, who decided to collect 
you. That’s why I’m here — he 
sent me.” 

“Really, as much as I appreci- 
ate the compliment, I can’t ac- 
company you. It’s almost deeble 
time — ” 

“I know, I read all about 
deebling in the Fairhill log be- 
fore I showed it to Uncle Sid- 



ney. I tore those page out I 
want him to be around when 
you do it. Then I can inherit 
his money and console myself in 
all manner of expensive ways for 
never having gone to the Space 
Academy. First I’ll become an 
alcoholic, then I’ll take up 
wenching — or maybe I’d better 
do it the other way around . . . 

“But I want to deeble here, 
among the things I’ve became 
attached to!” 

“This is a crowbar. I’m going 
to unattach you.” 

“If you try it, I’ll deeble right 

“You can’t. I measured your 
mass before we struck up this 
conversation. It will take at least 
eight months, under Earth con- 
ditions, for you to reach deeb- 
ling proportions.” 

“Okay, I was bluffing. But 
have you no compassion? I’ve 
rested here for centuries, ever' 
since I was a small pebble, at 
did my fathers before me. I’ve 
added so carefully to my atom 
collection, building up the finest 
molecular structure in the neigh- 
borhood. And now, to be snatch- 
ed away right before deebling 
time, it’s — it’s quite unrock of 

“It’s not that bad. I promise 
you’ll collect the finest Earth 
atoms available. You’ll go places 
no other Stone has ever been 

“Small consolation. I want my 
friends to see.” 

“I’m afraid that’s out of the 

“You are a very cruel human. 
I hope you’re around when I 

“I intend to be far away and 
on the eve of prodigious de- 
baucheries when that occurs.” 

T Tnder Dunghill’s sub-E gravi- 
tation Stone was easily roll- 
ed to the side of the space sedan, 
crated, and, with the help of a 
winch, installed in the compart- 
ment beside the atomic pile. The 
fact that it was a short- jaunt 
sport model sedan, customized 
by its owner, who had removed 
much of the shielding, was the 
reason Stone felt a sudden flush 
of volcanic drunkenness, rapidly 
added select items to his col- 
lection and deebled on the spot. 

He mushroomed upwards, 
then swept in great waves across 
the plains of Dunghill. Several 
young Stones fell from the dus- 
ty heavens wailing their birth 
pains across the community 

“Gone fission,” commented a 
distant neighbor, above the sta- 
tic, “and sooner than I expected. 
Feel that warm afterglow!” 

“An excellent deeble,” agreed 
another. “It always pays to be 
a cautious collector.” 








Some men should never go 
Into space — for their own 
sake, and for the Earth'sl 

One by one I dismayed them, 
frightened them sore with my 

One by one I betrayed them 
unto my manifold dooms. 
from The Law of the Yukon 
Robert W. Service 

tt'T'welve, helmet lock,” Rob- 
eson's voice rattled from the 
external speaker of his pressure 

“Twelve,” Sonny Greet echoed, 
glancing at the red arrows now 
point-to-point on the helmet and 
shoulder plate, then banging the 

closed latch with his fist. “Align- 
ed and locked.” 

“Thirteen, bleed valve,” Rob- 
son read from the checklist 
mounted on the bulkhead. 

“Thirteen, closed,” Sonny tap- 
ped the other man’s suit with 
his knuckles. 

“Fourteen, patch kit.” 
“Fourtee ...” 

“What are you doing, Sonny, 
just what in the hell do you 
think you are doing?” Captain 
Hegg broke in, stomping across 
the airlock chamber towards 




“Helping the prof with his 
checklist — I thought that was 
obvious, Cap’n.” 

“Helping to kill him maybe. 
You are going to have to take 
this kind of thing more serious- 
ly. You didn’t check that bleeder 

“I looked at it, the handle is 
up and down like it always is. 
Closed — and I’ve never seen 
one of them open yet.” 

“But you don’t know until you 
have checked it,” Hegg insisted 
with slow patience. “The handle 
might be broken, or turned a half 

“But it’s not, see Cap.” The 
tiny handle did not move when 
he pushed on it. “So I was right 
all along.” 

“You were not, Sonny. You 
did not follow checklist routine, 
that is all that matters.” 

“Mea culpa,” Sonny insisted, 
raising his hands in mock 
surrender, grinning disarmingly. 
“Have patience with my youth, 
Cap’n, and I promise never to 
do it again.” 

“See that you don’t.” 

ICYTou don’t think I’m out to 
* kill you, do you, Prof?” 
Sonny asked, looking ruefully 
away from the retreating back 
of the captain. “If you were dead 
who could I possibly win a chess 
game from once in a while?” 
“That’s just Hegg’s way, you 

know.” Robson’s smile could just 
be made out through the thick 
viewplate of his helmet. “He is 
really a good type, but terribly 
hardworking. He means well.” 
“But why is it always my neck 
that gets caught in the bear trap 
when he is meaning well?” 
Robson shrugged. “We had 
better finish running through the 
checklist. I want to get those 
sample traps in before dark.” 
“Right you are, Prof. We’ll 
pick it up from fourteen.” 

Sonny watched through their 
single view port as Captain Hegg 
and Robson, slow and clumsy in 
their pressure suits, clambered 
over the nearby ridge and van- 
ished from sight among the 
strangely earth-like trees. He 
shook his head, not for the first 
time, at the unreasonableness of 
it all. 

“How about a game?” Arkady 
called from his bunk, holding up 
his pocket chess set. “I’ll spot 
you a rook.” 

‘Why commit suicide? You 
even won that game when you 
had no queen.” 

“Just your bad luck, Sonny. 
With a queen ahead you could 
even win against the great 
Botvinnik, may his memory be 
revered, if you would remember 
to just keep exchanging.” 

“Yeah, but I keep forgetting. 
Look, Ivan Ivanovich, look out 
there at a sunny day on Cassi- 



dy-2. Wind in the trees, grass 
growing, maybe just a teensy 
tinge of green to the air that 
isn’t quite earthlike. Doesn’t it 
make you want to shuck off your 
clothes and go out and take a 

“Makes you want to be dead 
in five seconds,” Arkady an- 
swered heavily, setting up a prob- 
lem on the board. “The air out 
there is rich with deadly poisons 
and a mixture of hydrogen and 
methane that would bum with a 
lovely flame in this room. Or 
in your lungs. Even the stones 
would burn in our air. Look how 
wonderfully Reshevsky sank 
Euwe back in middle ages, 1947.” 
“Aw, come on, you know what 
I’m talking about. I could give 
you lectures about the natural 
wonders of this world. Remem- 
ber I’m the mineralogist here 
and you are just a thick-headed 
Russky mining engineer ...” 
“I go back to salt mine in 

“. . . I’m talking about ro- 
mance, emotion, art. Look out 
there. A world as close as the 
thickness of this wall, yet more 
unattainable than Earth, which 
happens to be light-years away. 
Don’t you feel it? Don’t you 
want to go out there?” 

“I go out there without my 
suit I’ll be dead in five seconds.” 
“You’re an unimaginative clod. 
If you are the end product of 

the Glorious Revolution I say 
bring back the Czar.” 

“Da. It’s your turn to cook 

“How could I forget? I was 
awake all night worrying about 
what to make for dinner. Will 
caviar go with the beef Strogan- 
off? Is the vodka cold enough?” 
“Dehydrations and coffee will 
be fine with me,” Arkady an- 
sewered imperturbably, concen- 
trating on the chess board. “You 
just torture yourself.” 

< CT’m worried about young 
A Greer,” Captain Hegg said, 
after carefully making sure that 
he was talking through his suit 
speaker and that his radio was 
turned off. 

“Sonny is a good chap,” Rob- 
son answered, plodding along at 
his side. “He’s not as young as 
all that either. He has his doctor- 
ate, he’s done some very original 
work. I’ve read some of his 

“It’s not his work that bothers 
me. If he couldn’t do it Spatial 
Survey would never have sent 
him out on this job. If there are 
the right kind of mineral de- 
posits here he will find them and 
Barabashev will find a way to 
get the stuff out. I don’t know 
anything about that; but I do 
know my job, which is running 
this expedition and seeing that 
everyone stays alive. And Sonny 



Greer is too careless out here.” 
“He has had field experience 

“On Earth,” Hegg snorted. 
“Antarctic, jungles, deserts. Kid 
stuff. This is his first offplanet 
trip and he is not serious enough 
about it. You know what I 
mean, professor.” 

“Only too well — since this is 
my eighth survey. And I am 
much more supernumerary than 
you are, let us not forget. The 
only reason the higher powers 
include a food-consuming ecolo- 
gist such as I on these junkets 
is to stress the scientific value of 
new-planet work and to get a 
bigger appropriation come bud- 
get time. I have developed a 
very relaxed attitude towards 
this sort of thing from being on 
these expeditions, yet always be- 
ing a bit on the outside. Give the 
chap enough time and keep after 
him. He’ll catch on. Don’t you 
remember me on my first expedi- 
tion? Tanarik-,4?” 

Hegg laughed. “How could 
any of us forget it? It must 
have been a month before the 
smell washed off.” 

“Then you see what I mean. 
Everyone is green as grass at 
the start. He’ll come around.” 
“I suppose you are right.” 
“There’s something in my 
trap — look! A serpentoid and 
I swear — it has six legs!” 

Two of the other traps also 

contained samples of the local 
life forms, and it took some time 
for Robson to poison them and 
transfer them to the sealed 
carrying case. There was no pos- 
sible way to bring living speci- 
mens back to earth, or even to 
keep them alive in the dome 
with the restricted means avail- 
able. The animals would have to 
be dissected and preserved in 
sealed plastic. 

It was sunset when they start- 
ed the trek back with the heavy 
carrying case, and it was dark 
long before they had reached 
the dome. But the directional 
beam came in clearly and the 
light on top of the radio mast 
was visible while they were still 
two kilometers away. Air might 
have been a problem, they were 
both on their reserve tanks, but 
they had more than enough left 
for the remaining time. The 
outer door of the lock was open 
and Hegg pulled it shut behind 
them, spun the wheel to seal it, 
then began the atmosphere 
evacuation pumps. Robson turn- 
ed on the cleansing showers to 
wash away all traces of the alien 
atmosphere and soil from their 

The shower roared briefly, 
then died to a weak trickle. 

“The tank is empty,” Hegg 
said, looking at the indicator on 
its side. “Who was supposed to 
refill it?” 



“Sonny — I think,” Robson 
said hesitatingly. “But I’m not 
really sure of the roster.” 

“I’m sure,” Hegg said grimly. 
He spun to the intercom phone 
on the wall of the lock chamber 
and leaned on the bell button. 

“What’s up?”’ the tiny speaker 
buzzed. “This station on call day 
and ni . . . ” 

“You did not fill the shower 
tank, Greer. It is on your duty 
roster for today.” 

“You’re right, Cap’n. Clean 
slipped my head worrying about 
dinner and all. Soon as you get 
inside I’ll get right on it.” 

“Can you tell me how we are 
going to get back inside if we 
can’t rinse?” 

r T~'here was only silence for long 
seconds. Then, “I’m sorry 
about that. Just an accident. Is 
there anything we can do?” 
“You’re damn right there is. 
Get the drill and chuck in a 
bit with a diameter smaller than 
the filling hose from the reserve 
cans. Shave down the end of 
the hose, then one of you stand 
by with the tank while the other 
one drills a hole. As soon as the 
drill is through jam in the end of 
the hose — and I mean fast. 
You’ll have a positive pressure 
on your side, so youll be all 
right. We’re in our suits. Then 
let in the shower fluid. We’ll 
wash under the hose.” 

“It sounds dangerous, Cap- 
tain. Isn’t there anything else.” 
“No. Do it that way, and do it 

“I’m surprised they didn’t 
build the tank in there with a 
pipe so it could be filled from in 

“The principle is to have a 
few openings as possible in a 
sealed bulkhead — and we can 
discuss the shortcomings of the 
designers some other time. Get 
that drill NOW!” 

Captain Hegg waited stolidly 
while the endless seconds drag- 
ged by, but Robson could not 
control his growing concern. He 
kept glancing at his oxygen re- 
serve indicator, tapping it ner- 
vously. The needle was almost 
to the empty mark. He jumped, 
startled, when a sudden shrill 
whining came from the silicon 
bronze wall. The whining slowed 
to a steady grinding noise and 
the black nose of the drill bit 
burst through the metal. It was 
jerked out and the hiss of in- 
coming air ended abruptly as the 
tip of the hose plugged the open- 
ing. Liquid gushed from it. 

“Do a good job of washing — 
and don’t bother to look at your 
oxygen dial,” Hegg said. “There 
is an unmarked safety reserve in 
all these tanks. We have more 
than enough time to do a com- 
plete job here.” 

They scrubbed quickly with 



the heavy brushes, taking turns 
to wash the inaccessible parts of 
each other’s suits. Robson had 
a stifling sensation that he knew 
was wholly imaginary and had 
to fight back an urge to scream 
when Hegg methodically washed 
the sample boxes, tilting them on 
end to get at their bottoms. More 
minutes dragged by as he went 
over them both, then carefuly 
over the floor, with the sniffer. 
He found two suspect spots neai 
the drain and had Robson scrub 
them while he finished quartering 
the area. 

“All clean,” Hegg said, 
straightening up “And atmos- 
phere evacuation is complete. 
Start the air pump and I’ll crack 
the door.” 

Air hissed in, but even though 
the inner door was unlocked it 
stayed sealed, held in place by 
the difference in atmospheric 
pressure. Robson stood before it, 
clenching his sweat-damp fingers 
inside the armored gloves, fight- 
ing to appear as calm as Captain 
Hegg at his side. The sound of 
incoming air stopped and the 
door opened before them. Rob- 
son fumbled at the latch to un- 
•seal his helmet. Hegg already 
had his off, placed carefully in 
the rack, before he stalked into 
the dome, straight to the white- 
faced Sonny Greer who stood 
against the far wall. 

“Do you know what you did? 

Do you have any idea just what 
you did?” 

'T'he words surprised the cap 
A tain, because that was not 
what he had meant to say at all. 
Nor had he intended violence, 
yet his fist was clenched and his 
arm drawn back. Christ, he 
thought to himself, do 1 want to 
kill the kid? Toughened by ex- 
perience on a dozen high-gravi- 
ty worlds, his fist in that metal 
gauntlet would break the man’s 
jaw, maybe his neck. It took 
more effort to relax than he had 
thought possible and he had to 
rub at the cable-hard muscles in 
his neck to force away the ten- 

“I said that I was sorry, Cap- 
tain. I mean that — ” 

“Will you get this through 
your thick head? Being sorry 
won’t help me if I’m dead. You 
have had expedition experience 
before — earthside experience. 
What happens in the bloody Gobi 
desert or wherever you worked, 
if you don’t fill the shower?” 

C<J » 

“I’ll tell you what happens. 
Nothing happens. Someone may- 
be stays dirty for awhile but that 
is all. And what happens here 
if you forget to fill the shower? 
Two men can die, that is what 
can happen! Does the difference 
penetrate, mister bloody stupid 



Sonny Greer’s face was red, 
then suddenly white with sup- 
pressed rage. Robson was watch- 
ing from the doorway where he 
stood, his helmet in his hands. 

“Easy on, Captain,” he said in 
a worried voice. “There’s no 
need for all of this.” 

“No, the captain is right,” 
Sonny broke in, his voice shak- 
ing, whether from anger or other 
emotion was hard to tell. “I de- 
served that. And I’d lose my 
temper myself if someone pulled 
a stunt like that on me.” Arkady 
watched but said nothing. 

Captain Hegg turned his back 
and became involved in remov- 
ing his pressure suit so that the 
others could not see his face. He 
felt that his lips were pulled 
back from his teeth like an ani- 
mal ready to bite, and a small, 
cool part of his consciousness 
wondered at the unexpected 
ferocity of his reaction. Mov- 
ing with unhurried precision, he 
forced himself to remove and 
stow the suit before he spoke. 
He was in control of himself 
again. Arkady was helping Rob- 
son with his armor in the lock 
chamber; they could hear what 
was being said but not interrupt. 

“Listen, Greer. I have nothing 
personal against you, I hope you 
realize that.” His voice was 

“I know that Cap’ll. You’m 
rough but square.” 

Hegg chose to ignore the hint 
of amusement in Sonny’s tones. 

“I’m glad you realize that, 
so you will understand that what 
I am going to do has no personal 
prejudice but is done by the 
book and for the good of the ex- 
pedition as a whole. Have you 
ever heard of a planetary in- 
efficiency rating?” 


“I didn’t think you had. It is 
not a secret, but at the same 
time it is also not talked about 
much. The rules are simple. Two 
strikes and you are out. Out of 
the expedition, out of Spatial 
Survey and out of a job. You 
have just had your first strike.” 
“What do you mean . . . ?” 

“I mean exactly what I say. 
When I send in the weekly re- 
port tomorrow I am going to give 
you a negative efficiency mark. 
This will go on your record. It 
is not good, but it is nothing to 
be ashamed of, a lot of men have 
had them. The importance of the 
rating is double — to drive home 
the importance of regulations to 
you and to be sure you do not 
endanger anyone else’s life. If 
you make one more blunder I 
send for your replacement.” 
“Have a heart, Cap’n, it wasn’t 
all that bad! No one was hurt. I 
promise nothing like it will hap- 
pen again. I’ll try doubly hard if 
you don’t report this.” 

“You will try doubly hard be- 



cause I do report it. If I had any 
brains I would have sent in the 
first report when you didn’t 
check the bleed valve on Rob- 
son’s suit. If I had done that 
this would be your second mark 
and you would be out — which 
is where you belong. I don’t 
think you have it in you to be 
a good spacer.” 

He turned and walked away, 
as far as he could in the limited 
confines of the dome. Sonny star- 
ed after him, chewing his lip. 

“I am hungry,” Arkady said, 
walking across the dome and 
looking into the pot that was 
simmering slowly on the electric 
stove. “The stew smells as good 
as ever. Anyone joining me?” 

“A bowl for me, if you will, 
Arkady,” Hobson said, trying 
with slight success to keep a 
natural tone into his voice. 

t4'\/'our heroic treatment 
seems to have worked,” 
Robson said looking out of the 
port to see if Sonny and Arkady 
were returning yet. “Over two 
weeks now and your problem 
child has beert good as gold, seri- 
ous as a clam and attentive to 
his' duty.” 

“Not as serious as that. He 
is starting with the jokes again." 
Captain Hegg stretched his long 
fingers, cramped from laboring 
the keys of the minityper as he 
wrote up his report. “He must 


take things seriously, all the 

“I think that you are worry- 
ing without cause. You know 
that it is possible for a man to 
have a sense of humor and still 
to be serious about his work. 
Good lord, you never seem to 
complain about my jokes, ex- 
cept that you don’t think them 

“A very different thing, pro- 
fessor. No matter how you are 
feeling you always do your work 
the same way, correctly and 

“Some people use the term 
‘old-maidish’ for that.” 

“Perhaps on Earth, where 
there are very few critical mis- 
takes to be made. Out here it is 
essential to survival. A man 
must have it naturally, as you 
do, or force himself to learn it. 
Some never learn it and find 
jobs on earth. I would sleep 
much better if our mineralogist 
were there with them.” 

“Speak of the devil. They’re 
on their way back now, lugging 
a great ruddy trunk between 
them. I hope you filled the show- 
er tank.” 

“Of course! It’s on my roster 
— ” He caught Robson’s eye and 
forced himself to smile in re- 
turn, though he did not consider 
this sort of joke to be in very 
good taste. 

The shower thundered and 


roared on the other side of the 
bulkhead. Hegg eyed the patch 
where they had drilled the hole 
and made a mental note to 
change it in the morning; the 
continual pressure changes could 
not be doing the flexible materi- 
al any good. He wished, not for 
the first time, that their weight 
allowance had allowed for some 
metalworking tools. The sound 
of the shower stopped and the 
inner lock opened; the two men 
burst into the dome cheering and 
swinging the heavy case between 

“So pure they won’t have to 
bother to refine it!” Arkady 

“The mother lode, the bonan- 
za, the richest strike in the 
known history of man — no, in 
the history of the galaxy!” Sonny 
struck a noble pose, one foot 
on the case, arms flung theatri- 
cally wide. 

“I gather you have found a 
new deposit of ore,” Robson ob- 
served dryly. 

“Did you check with the snif- 
fer before you bled in the air?” 

“Of course, Cap’n, old watch- 
dog!” Sonny was so lost in en- 
thusiasm that he had the temeri- 
ty to slap the captain on one 
massive shoulder and never no- 
ticed the sudden narrowing of 
his eyes. “As of this very moment 
you can chalk up this expedition 
as a howling success!” 

CtTt will be three months be- 
fore the ship is here to take 
us off. Plenty of work yet . . . ” 
“Paperwork and tedium, Cap 
me lad! The purpose of this trip 
was to see if rich enough de- 
posits of titanium, beryllium or 
sodium could be found in great 
enough concentration to justify 
the installation of robot mining 
equipment, since it is impossible 
to bring in enough oxygen for 
large-scale human operation.” 
“We have found it,” Arkady 
broke in. “Almost a mountain of 
ore! Chunks of pure metallic 
sodium. I can see the installation 
now — a pithead, a spaceport. 
The robot miners, conveyers, the 
hum of mighty machines!” 

“Whenever you Russians get 
poetic it is always tractors or 
mighty machines," Captain Hegg 
said, catching the spark of their 
enthusiasm. “Now climb out of 
those suits. And if either of you 
are capable of it, I would enjoy 
having a written report that I 
can send off as soon as possible.” 
For a few hours that night 
the precariousness of their thin- 
walled bubble of air on an alien 
world was forgotten, for this was 
an event to be celebrated. Their 
survey was a success, even more 
successful than had been hoped 
for. The planet of Cassidy- 2 
would reluctantly release its pre- 
cious metals and it would be the 
members of the expedition who 



received the credit for this 

Captain Hegg rooted in the 
bottom of the container of the 
dehydrated fish that they all 
loathed, and brought up four 
steaks that he had hidden there 
for a deserving occasion. Hob- 
son, as acting medical officer, 
contributed a container of bran- 
dy from the hospital stores. The 
alcohol only added to their ela- 
tion; they did not really need it. 
This was a night that would long 
be remembered. They retired 
late, calling back and forth from 
their bunks in the darkness, 
laughing outrageously at the 
sudden onslaught of Hobson’s 
snores, then one by one falling 
off to sleep as well. 

Captain Hegg awoke possessed 
by the premonition that some- 
thing was very wrong. He shook 
his head, cursing the muffling ef- 
fects of the brandy, trying to un- 
derstand why he had woken up. 
The room was dark, except for 
the glow of telltale lights from 
the instrument panel, and even 
from his upper bunk he could 
see that they all were glowing 
green. It couldn’t be that. A red 
warning when the board was on 
night command set off enough 
alarms to lift them right out of 
their beds. What else? He cough- 
ed and cleared his throat. 

With sudden panic he inhaled 
deeply and broke into spasmo- 


die coughing. Smoke! There 
could be no smoke here! Smok- 
ing was forbidden, while very 
few things in the dome were 
even combustible . . . 

The ore case with the 

ccp oil out!” Hegg bellowed 
-^'-as he half jumped, half 
fell from the high bunk and 
dived for the light switch. As 
his hand hit it he saw the red 
hairline gleam between the lid 
and the body of the sealed case. 

“Get up! Get up!” 

He pulled Sonny halfway out 
of his high bunk and at the 
same instant kicked Arkady in 
the side. This was all the time 
he could spare. He was aware 
of Robson stumbling up behind 
him as he dived for the case. 

“Robson! Open the door to the 
lock chamber.” 

The ecologist was tugging at 
the wheel even before he had 
finished speaking, and Hegg put 
his shoulder to the case and 
pushed just as the side burst 
open with roaring flame. Clouds 
of white smoke poured out and 
intense glare bathed the full wall 
of the room. Hegg fell backward, 
coughing and retching painfully. 
Sonny jumped over him and 
threw a wad of blankets and 
bedding over the flame. The 
resistant material covered the 
flame and checked the smoke 


for an instant while he and 
Arkady pushed the case towards 
the lock chamber door, now 
standing open. 

Flame burst through the cov- 
erings almost instantly but they 
were at the door. Molten metal 
was dribbling from the flaming 
case and, pushing wildly, Arkady 
slipped and put his knee full into 
a pool of it. He rolled free, with- 
out uttering a sound, and beat 
the flame from his pajama legs 
with his bare hands. At the 
same moment Robson and 
Sonny gave 'a last concerted 
heave and the leaking case slid 
into the lock chamber. They 
pushed at the door. 

“Evacuation . . . pump . . 
Hegg managed to say through 
his coughing, but Arkady had 
dragged himself there with one 
leg and the motor was already 

The smoke was thicker before 
the last burning gobbet of metal 
had been shoveled up and drop- 
ped into the largest of their 
sample boxes. This was lined 
with heavier metal; before it 
burned through they had the lid 
sealed shut and an atmosphere 
of inert helium pumped in. The 
metal held, and in the lock 
chamber the burning also stop- 
ped as the combustible atmos- 
phere was removed. With each 
passing second the air cleared 
as the air circulators drew out 

and filtered away the smoke. 

“What happened . . .?” Arkady 
asked, still dazed by the sud- 
denness of the emergency. Blood 
ran down his leg, yet neither he 
nor any of the others noticed it. 

“One of the locks on the 
sample case wasn’t closed all the 
way,” Robson said thickly. “1 
saw it just as I pushed the thing 
through the door. Right hand 
lock, open a couple of notches. 
Enough to let a trickle of air 
in ” 

“Who sealed that case?” 
Hegg’s voice hammered at them, 
his coughing forgotten, or under 

“I did,” Arkady said. Then, 
grimly, “But Sonny opened it 

again to put in a last piece of 
_ _ _ »» 

As though their heads were 
controlled by the same silent 
command they turned to face 

“But I didn’t . . . well, maybe, 
it was an accident . . .” he said, 
his face slack, still stunned by 
the suddenness of the emer- 

Robson was closest. “You — 
you — ” he said, but could not 
find the words. With his shining 
bald head and jowled cheeks he 
should have looked funny as he 
stood there, shaking with rage, 
but he did not. Almost of its own 
volition his open hand sprang 
out and slapped Sonny across 



the face. Sonny stumbled back- 
wards, his fingers fumbling 
towards the livid red mark on his 
white cheek. 

Arkady hopped forward. His 
hard fist, swung with all of his 
weight, caught Sonny on the side 
of the neck, knocking him to the 
floor. The three men fell on the 
writhing body, pummeling and 
kicking it, mouthing inarticulate 

Captain Hegg ground his heel 
deep into the prostrate man’s 
side just once before he re- 
alized who he was and what he 
was doing. He reeled away, then 
turned back to shout to the other 
two men. They did not hear him 
and kept on grimily at what 
they were doing. Pulling at them 
did no good either so he had to 
stop Arkady with a paralyzing 
judo blow and drag the little 
professor over to his bunk and 
hold him there until he stopped 

“Let me have the key to the 
medical supplies,” he said, when 
he saw that Robson was finally 

\To one ever discussed the 

™ affairs of that night, except 
for the needed mechanical de- 
tails of cleaning up the damage. 
Sonny Greer lay for three days 
in his bunk, bandaged and silent, 
closing his eyes when anyone 
came near. Arkady’s burns were 

bandaged and he hobbled around 
the dome doing the minor main- 
tenance work that he was cap- 
able of. Captain Hegg broke into 
fits of exhausting coughing if he 
did anything strenuous. Prof. 
Robson, though unmarked physi- 
cally, seemed to have shrunk 
and his skin hung loosely. The 
three men kept very much to 
themselves, and when they talk- 
ed did so in low voices. 

It would be thirteen weeks 
before the relief ship arrived. 

On the fourth day Sonny Greer 
climbed out of his bunk. Except 
for his bruised face and the 
bandages he seemed fit for duty. 

“Is there anything I can do?” 
he asked. 

Arkady and Robson turned 
away when he spoke. Hegg forc- 
ed himself to answer. 

“Just one thing. Arkady can’t 
get into a suit, so you will have 
to go out with me oilce to get 
some more samples. After that 
you will be relieved of duty. You 
will stay in or near your bunk. 
You will touch none of the con- 
trols or equipment. Your meals 
will be brought to you.” 

After that no one talked to 
Sonny, even when they handed 
him his food. The tension in the 
small' dome grew worse with 
every passing day and Hegg 
wondered how long it would be 
before something really snapped. 

Sonny had stumbled once, on 



his way from his bunk to the 
toilet cubby, and accidentally 
leaned on the air control con- 
sole. Arkady had hit him once, 
knocking him halfway across the 
room. Hegg had been putting off 
the trip for the samples, but he 
finally forced himself to schedule 
it Perhaps getting the man away 
from the others for a while would 

“We are going after the ore 
samples tomorrow,” he announc- 
ed to the room in general. The 
silence that followed was deadly. 

“Let me check out your suit 
for you, Captain,” Arkady final- 
ly said. 

“I’ll help him.” Robson climb- 
ed to his feet. ‘With two check- 
ing there are no errors. It’s bet- 
ter that way.” 

Hegg let them go. It was that 
way all the time now, the three 
of them checking and counter- 
checking each other, almost liv- 
ing in panic with their aware- 
ness of the manifold dooms that 
the planet held in store for them. 
Captain Hegg did not know how 
this situation could remain static 
for three full months. When the 
two men emerged from the lock 
chamber, he realized that Sonny 
was looking at him. 

“Can I check my suit, Cap- 
tain?” he asked. Neither of the 
men had gone near Greer’s suit. 
It was as though he didn’t exist. 

“Go ahead,” Hegg said, then 

followed him through the dot 
and watched his every move. It 
was a compulsive action he could 
not have resisted if he had want- 
ed to. 

The morning was worse. Sonny 
was forced to fumble into his 
suit by himself since the men 
ignored him, while at the same 
time they insisted on going 
through Captain Hegg’s check- 
list three times before they were 
satisfied. The inner door had 
actually been closed before Hegg 
could force himself to go over to 
the man, to run through the 
checklist with him. To touch 
Sonny’s suit seemed repellent. 

“One,” Sonny said. “Spare oxy 
tank full.” 

“One,” Hegg repeated, and 
with an effort of will drove his 
fingers to tap the hated metal. 
They went slowly down the list. 

“Thirteen, bleed valve.” 

“Thirteen, closed.” And Hegg's 
fingers went out and felt the 
closed valve . . . then spun it 
open a half turn. 

ttVX^ait! There, it’s all right.” 
* ’ He sealed the valve 
again with palsied hands. 

What had possessed him, he 
thought as they left the lock and 
trudged slowly towards the dis- 
tant hills? Why had he done 
that? He had not willed it. He 
would not kill Sonny, though he 
knew the man would be better 



off dead, before he did some- 
thing that killed them all. 

It was that simple. Sonny 
Greer was a menace. No longer 
a friend, he was in league with 
the planet, joined in battle 
against them. That was why the 
other two men shunned him like 
a Jonah. He was a Jonah. Worse 
than a Jonah. He was linked 
with the omnipresent powers 
that sought to destroy them, and 
they must both feel, as he did, 
that Greer would be better off 

At that moment Sonny Greer 
let go of his end of the sample 
case, stumbled and fell. 

Hegg looked on, stunned, as 
he writhed on the ground, claw- 
ing silently at his helmet. 
Sonny’s suit speaker was cut off 
and only muffled sounds came 
through the thick armor. Hegg 
bent over him, uncomprehend- 
ing, as the man’s body arched 
like a bow and collapsed. Hegg 
rolled him over and looked 
through the faceplate at the 
dead, tortured face. 

His instant sympathy was 
overwhelmed by a feeling of 
immense relief. 

Sonny seemed to have been 
killed by poisoning from the 
atmosphere. But how could it 
have entered his suit? There 
could be no leaks in the armor. 
Hegg would swear to that; he 
had checked it thoroughly him- 


self. Then he remembered his 
traitor fingers at the bleed valve 
and he quickly tried it. No, it 
was sealed. 

Or was it? The handle was 
tight to the stop and vertical — 
but wasn’t there too much thread 
showing? Hegg turned the limp 
body until the sun shone direct- 
ly into the mouth of the valve. 

It was jammed half open by a 
particle of metal. The air in the 
suit would be forced out by the 
greater internal pressure, and 
when the pressure dropped the 
outside atmosphere would leak 
in. Had leaked in; because 
Sonny Greer was completely and 
finally dead. 

Again the wave of relaxation 
swept over the captain, and it 
carried with it a tiny, nagging 

How had the metal gotten into 
the valve? By accident? A lucky 
accident that made it lodge in 
exactly such a way that the 
valve handle would look shut 
and feel shut — even though it 
was open? 

“Cause of death, accidental,” 
Captain Hegg said, louder than 
he had intended, as he climbed 
to his feet and cleaned the alien 
dust from his hands, then rub- 
bed them on his legs to cleanse 
them again. 

“It had to be an accident. I 
can’t very well list you as sui- 
cide,” he said to the unmoving 


body. “It really should be self- 
defense, or justified homicide or 
something. But I can’t say that, 
can I, Sonny?” 

Now that death had removed 
the threat, he could feel for the 
first time the compassion that 
had been buried by his urge for 

“I’m sorry, Sonny,” he whis- 
pered gently, and touched the 
lifeless shoulder. “You just 

shouldn’t have been out here. I 
wish for all our sakes we had 
found that out earlier. 

“Mostly for your sake though,” 
he said, rising. Then in a firmer 
voice. “I better get back to the 
dome, straighten this mess 
out ...” 

Beginning the long process of 


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Ever since Scanners Live in Vain more than a decade ago, the name 
of Cordwainer Smith has stood for something rare and precious in science 
fiction, a kind of story that not only transcends what we know and do, but 
even what we are. Smith's characters are no longer entirely human. They 
are something beyond. Maybe they are something better. In the next issue 
of Galaxy we have a long complete story by Cordwainer Smith called The 
Dead Lady of Clown Town which shows what we mean. We recommend 
it to any Smith fan — and, we think, it will create a lot of new members 
of that class! 

Back after an all-too-long absence is another Galaxy favorite, Richard 
Wilson. In The Watchers in the Glade next issue Wilson brings you a 
glimpse of the starry frontiers as our descendants may find them, a few 
centuries hence. They may not like what they'll find — but you'll like what 
Wilson has to say on the subject . . . 

And, of course, there'll be more. Novelette called The Children of 
Night, by a fellow named Pohl. Column by Willy Ley on fossils of several 
kinds — the kind that are dug up, and the kind that do the digging and are 
sometimes embarrassed by what they find. Short stories . . . maybe another 
novelette or two . . . yes. we think you'll like the issuel 








It was a crockery island, afloat on 
an endless sea, and its mighty old 
engines drove it on to .. . nowhere l 

'T'hirty sisters, as like as peas, 
were sitting at their looms in 
the court above the Gallery of 
Weavers. In the cool shadow, 
their white dresses rustled like 
the stirrings of doves, and their 
voices now murmured, now shril- 
led. Over the courtyard was a 
canopy of green glass, through 

which the sun appeared to swim 
like a golden-green fish; but 
over the roofs could be seen the 
strong blue of the sky, and even, 
at one or two places, the piercing 
white sparkle of the sea. 

The sisters were ivory-skin- 
ned, strong armed and straight 
of back, with eyebrows arched 
black over bright eyes. Some had 
grown fat, some were lean. But 



*. 4IUNTA - 41 + 


the same smiles dimpled their 
cheeks, the same gestures threw 
back their sleek heads when they 
laughed, and each saw herself 
mirrored in the others. 

Only the youngest, Mary, was 
different. Hers was the clan face, 
but so slender and grave that it 
seemed a stranger’s. She had 
been brought to birth to replace 
old Anna-one, who had fallen 
from the lookout and broken her 
neck sixteen springs ago; and 
some said it had been done too 
quick; that Mary was from a 
bad egg and should never have 
been let grow. Now the truth was 
that Mary’s genes had a long- 
recessive trait of melancholy and 
unworldliness, turned up by acci- 
dent in the last cross; but the 
Elders, who after all knew best, 
had decided to give her the same 
chance as anyone. 

For in the floating island of 
Iliria, everyone knew that the 
purpose of life was happiness. 
And therefore to deprive any- 
one of life was a great shame. 

At the far side of the court, 
Vivana called from her loom, 
“They say a new Fisher came 
from the mainland yesterday!” 
She was the eldest of the thirty, 
‘a coarse, goodnatured woman 
with a booming laugh. “If he’s 
handsome, I may take him, and 
give you others a chance at my 
Tino. Rose, how would you like 
that? Tino would be a good man 

for you.” Her loom whirled, and 
rich, dark folds of liase rippled 
out. It was an artificial fiber, 
formed, spun, woven and dyed 
in the loom, hardening as it 
reached the air. A canister of the 
stuff, like tinted gelatin, stood 
at the top of every loom. It came 
from the Chemist clan, who con- 
cocted it by mysterious workings 
out of the sea water that tum- 
bled through their vats. 

“What, is he tiring of you al- 
ready?” Rose called back. She 
was short and moon-faced, with 
strong, clever fingers that danced 
on the keyboard of her loom. 
“Probably you belched in his 
face once too often.” She raised 
her shrill voice over the laugh- 
ter. “Now let me tell you, Vi- 
vana, if the new Fisher is as 
handsome as that, I may take 
him myself, and let you have 
Mitri.” Mounds of apple-green 
stuff tumbled into a basket 

Between them, Mary worked 
on, eyes cast down, without smil- 

“Gogo and Vivana!” someone 

"Yes, that’s right — never 
mind about the Fisher! Gogo and 
Vivana!” All the sisters were 
shouting and laughing. But Mary 
still sat quietly busy at her loom. 

“All right, all right,” shouted 
Vivana, wheezing with laughter. 

“I will try him, but then who’s 
to have Gunner?” 




“No, me!” 

Gunner was the darling of the 
Weavers, a pink man with thick 
blond lashes and a roguish grin. 

“No, let the youngsters have 
a chance,” Vivana called re- 
provingly. “Joking aside, Gunner 
is too good for you old scows.” 
Ignoring the shrieks of outrage, 
she went on, “I say let Viola 
have him. Better yet, wait, I 
have an idea — how about 

'T'he chatter stilled; all eyes 
turned toward the silent girl 
where she sat, weaving slow 
cascades of creamy white liase. 
She flushed quickly, and bowed 
her head, unable to speak. She 
was sixteen, and had never taken 
a lover. 

The women looked at her, and 
the pleasure faded out of their 
faces. Then they turned away, 
and the shouting began again: 




Mary’s slim hands faltered, 
and the intricate diapered pat- 
tern of her weaving was spoiled. 
Now the bolt would have to be 
cut off, unfinished. She stopped 
the loom, and drooped over it, 
pressing her forehead against the 
smooth metal. Tears burned her 
eyelids. But she held herself 

still, hoping Mia, at the next 
loom, would not see. 

Below in the street, a sudden 
tumult went up. Heads turned 
to listen: there was the wailing 
of flutes, the thundering of 
drums, and the sound of men’s 
rich voices, singing and laughing. 

A gate banged open, and a 
clatter of feet came tumbling up 
the stair. The white dresses 
rustled as the sisters turned ex- 
pectantly toward the arch. 

A knot of laughing, struggling 
men burst through, full into the 
midst of the women, toppling 
looms, while the sisters shrieked 
in protest and pleasure. 

The men were Mechanics, 
dark-haired, gaunt, leavened by 
a few blond Chemists. They 
were wrestling, Mechanic again- 
st Chemist, arms locked about 
each other’s necks, legs straining 
for leverage. One struggling pair 
toppled suddenly, overturning 
two more. The men scrambled 
up, laughing, red with exertion. 

Behind them was a solitary 
figure whose stillness drew 
Mary’s eyes. He was tall, slender 
and grave, with russet hair and 
a quiet mouth. While the others 
shouted and pranced, he stood 
looking around the courtyard. 
For an instant his calm gray 
eyes met hers, and Mary felt a 
sudden pain at the heart. 

“Dear, what is it?” asked Mia, 
leaning closer. 



“I think I am ill,” said Mary 

“Oh, not now!” Mia protested. 

Two of the men were wrestling 
again. A heave, and the dark 
Mechanic went spinning over the 
other’s hip. 

A shout of applause went up. 
Through the uproar, Vivana’s 
big voice came booming, “You 
fishheads, get out! Look at this, 
half a morning’s work ruined! 
Are you all drunk? Get out!” 

“We’re all free for the day!” 
one of the Mechanics shouted. 
“You, too — the whole district! 
It’s in the Fisher’s honor! So 
come on, what are you waiting 

The women were up, in a sud- 
den flutter of voices and white 
skirts, the men beginning to 
spread out among them. The tall 
man still stood where he was. 
Now he was looking frankly at 
Mary, and she turned away in 
confusion, picking up the botch- 
ed fabric with hands that did not 
feel it. 

She was aware that two 
Mechanics had turned back, 
were leading the tall man across 
the courtyard, calling, “Violet — 
Clara!” She did not move, but 
her breath stopped. 

Then they were pausing be- 
fore her loom. There was an 
av.’ful moment when she thought 
she could not move. Then she 
looked up fearfully. He was 

standing there, hands in his 
pockets, slumped a little as he 
looked down at her. 

He said, “What is your name?” 
His voice was low and gentle. 

“Mary,” she said. 

“Will you go with me today, 

Around her, the women’s 
heads were turning. A silence 
spread; she could sense the wait- 
ing, the delight held in check. 

She could not! Her whole soul 
yearned for it, but she was too 
afraid, there were too many eyes 
watching. Miserably, she said, 
“No,” and stopped, astonished, 
listening to the echo of her voice 
saying gladly, “Yes!” . . . 

Suddenly her heart grew light 
as air. She stood, letting the 
loom fall, and when he held out 
his hand, hers went into it as if 
it knew how. 

UCo you have a rendezvous 

^ with a mainland Fisher?” 
the Doctor inquired jovially. He 
was pale- eyed and merry in his 
broad brown hat and yellow 
tunic; he popped open his little 
bag, took out a pill, handed it to 
Mary. “Swallow this, dear.” 

‘What is it for, Doctor?” she 
asked, flushing. 

“Only a precaution. You 
wouldn’t want a baby to grow 
right in your belly, would you? 
Ha, ha, ha! That shocks you, 
does it? Well, you see, the Main- 



landers don’t sterilize the males, 
their clan customs forbid it, so 
they sterilize the females in- 
stead. We have to be watchful, 
ah, yes, we Doctors! Swallow it 
down, there’s a good girl.” 

She took the pill, drank a sip 
of water from the flask he hand- 
ed her. 

“Good, good — now you can 
go to your little meeting and be 
perfectly safe. Enjoy yourself!” 
Beaming, he closed his bag and 
went away. 


/"'vn the high Plaza of Foun- 
tains, overlooking the quay- 
side and the sea, feasts of shrimp 
and wine, seaweed salad, caviar, 
pasta, iced sweets had been laid 
out under canopies of green glass. 
Orchestrinos were playing. Cou- 
ples were dancing on the old 
ceramic cobbles, white skirts 
swinging, hair afloat in the bril- 
liant air. Farther up, Mary and 
Fisher had found a place to be 

Under the bower in the cool 
shade, they lay clasped heart to 
heart. In her ecstasy she could 
not tell where her body ended 
or his began. 

“Oh, I love you, I love you!” 
she murmured. 

His body moved, his head 
drew back a little to look at her. 
There was something troubled in 


his gray eyes. “I didn’t know this 
was going to be your first time,” 
he said. “How is it that you 
waited so long?” 

“I was waiting for you,” she 
said faintly, and it seemed to 
her that it was so, and that she 
had always known it. Her arms 
tightened around him, wishing to 
draw him closer to her body 

But he held himself away, 
looking down at her with the 
same vague uneasiness in his 
eyes. “I don’t understand,” he 
said. “How could you have 
known I was coming?” 

“I knew,” she said. Timidly 
her hands began to stroke the 
long, smooth muscles of his back, 
the man’s flesh, so different 
from her own. It seemed to her 
that her fingertips knew him 
without being told. 

His body stiffened; his gray 
eyes half closed. “Oh, Mary ...” 
he said, and then he was close 
against her again, his mouth 
busy on hers. 

Near the end she began to 
weep, and lay in his arms after- 
ward with the luxurious tears 
wetting her cheeks, while his 
voice asked anxiously, “Are you 
all right? Darling, are you all 
right?”; and she could not ex- 
plain, but only held him tighter 
and wept. 

Later, hand in hand, they 
wandered down the bonewhite 


stairs to the quayside strewn 
with drying nets, the glass floats 
sparkling sharp in the sun, spars, 
tackle and canvas piled every- 
were. Only two boats were moor- 
ed at the floating jetty below. 
The rest were out fishing, black 
specks on the glittering sea, al- 
most at the horizon. 

Over to eastward, they saw the 
desolate smudge of the mainland 
and the huddle of stones that 
was Porto. “That’s where you 
live,” she said wonderingly. 


“What do you do there?” 

He paused, looked down at 
her with that startled unease in 
his glance. After a moment he 
shrugged. “Work. Drink a little 
in the evenings, make love. What 
else would I do?” 

A dull pain descended sudden- 
ly on her heart and would not 
lift its wings. “You’ve made love 
to many women?” she asked 
with difficulty. 

“Of course. Mary, what’s the 

“You’re going back to Porto. 
You’re going to leave me.” 

Now the unnamed thing in 
his eyes had turned to open in- 
credulity. He held her arms, 
staring down at her. “What 

She put her head down ob- 
stinately, burying it against his 
chest. “I want to stay with you,” 
she said in a muffled voice. 

“But you can't You’re an 
Islander — I’m a Mainlander.” 
“I know.” 

“Then why this foolishness?” 
“I don’t know.” 

TTe turned her without speak- 
ing, and they stepped down 
from the promenade, went into 
the shadow of some storehouses 
that abutted on the quayside. 

The doors were open, breath- 
ing scents of spices and tar, new 
cordage, drying fish. Beyond 
them was a pleasant courtyard 
with boats piled upside down on 
one side, on the other a table, 
an umbrella, chairs, all cool in 
the afternoon shadow. From 
there they took a shallow stair- 
case up into a maze of little 
streets full of the dim, mys- 
terious blue light that fell from 
canopies of tinted glass between 
roofs. Passing a house with open 
shutters, they heard the drone of 
childish voices. They peered in: 
it was the nursery school — forty 
young Bakers, Chemists, Mech- 
anics, fair skins and dark, each 
in a doll-like miniature of his 
clan costume, all earnestly re- 
citing together while the shovel- 
hatted Teacher stood listening 
at the greenboard. Cool, neutral 
light came from the louvred sky- 
lights. The small faces were clear 
and innocent, here a tiny Cook 
in his apron, there two Carters 
sitting together, identical in their 



blue smocks, there a pale Doc- 
tor, and beside him, Mary saw 
with a pang, a little Weaver in 
white. The familiar features 
were childishly blunted and 
small, the ivory skin impossibly 
pure, the bright eyes wide. 

“Look — that one,” she whis- 
pered, pointing. 

He peered in. “She looks like 
you. More like you than the 
others. You’re different from all 
the rest, Mary. That’s why I 
like you.” He looked down at 
her with a puzzled expression; 
his arm tightened around her. 
“I’ve never felt quite this way 
about a girl before. What are you 
doing to me?” he said. 

She turned to him, embracing 
him, letting her body go soft and 
compliant against his. “Loving 
you, darling,” she said, smiling 
up, her eyes half-closed. 

He kissed her fiercely, then 
pushed her away, looking almost 
frightened. “See here, Mary,” he 
said abruptly, “we’ve got to 
understand something.” 

“Yes?” she said faintly, cling- 
ing to him. 

“I’m going to be back in Porto 
tomorrow morning,” he said 

“Tomorrow!” she said. “I 
thought — ” 

“My work was done this morn- 
ing. It was a simple adjustment 
of the sonics. You’ll catch 
plenty of fish from now on . . . 
I have nothing else to do.” 

She was stunned; she could 
not believe it. Surely there 
would be at least another night 
. . . that was little enough to 

“Can’t you stay?’ she said. 

“You know I can’t.” His voice 
was rough and strained. “I go 
where they tell me, come when 
they say come.” 

Ohe tried to hold back the time, 
k -' but it slipped away, ran 
through her fingers: the sky 
darkened slowly from cerulean 
to Prussian blue. The stars came 
out, and the cool night wind stir- 
red over the jetty. 

Below her, in a cluster of 
lights, they were making the 
boat ready. Orchestrinos were 
playing up the hillside, and 
there was a little crowd of men 
and women gathering to say 
good-by. There was laughter, 
joking, voices raised good-na- 
turedly in the evening stillness. 

Kief, pale in the lights, came 
up the stairs to where she stood, 
his head tilted as he came, his 
grave eyes holding hers. 

“I’m not going to cry,” she 

His hands took her arms, grip- 
ping her half in tenderness, half 
impatiently. “Mary, you know 
this is wrong. Get over it. Find 
yourself other men — be happy.” 

“Yes. I’ll be happy.” she said. 

He stared down at her in un- 



certainty, then bent his head and 
kissed her. She held herself pas- 
sive in his arms, not responding 
or resisting. After a moment he 
let her go and stepped back. 
“Good-by, Mary.” 

“Good-by, Kief.” 

He turned, went quickly down 
the steps. The laughing voices 
surrounded him as he went tow- 
ard the boat; after a moment she 
heard his voice, too, lifted in 
cheerful farewells. 

In the morning she awoke 
knowing that he was gone. A 
frightening knowledge of loss 
seized her, and she sat up with 
her heart leaping. 

Down the high dormitory, 
smelling faintly of cinnamon oil 
and fresh linens, the sisters were 
beginning to rustle sleepily out 
of their cubicles, murmuring and 
yawning. The familiar hiss of the 
showers began at the far end 
of the room. The white-curtained 
windows were open, and from 
her bed Mary could see the 
cream and terra cotta roofs 
spread out in a lazy descent. The 
air was cool and still and myste- 
riously pure: it was the best 
moment of the day. 

She rose, washed herself and 
dressed mechanically. “What is 
it, dear?” asked Mia, bending 
toward her anxiously. 

“Nothing. Kief is gone.” 
“Well, there’ll be others.” Mia 
patted her hand with a relieved 

smile and went away. There was 
a closeness between them, they 
were almost of an age, and yet 
even Mia could not be comfort- 
able long in Mary’s company. 

Mary sat with the others at 
table, silent in the steaming fra- 
grances of coffee and new bread, 
the waves of cheerful talk that 
flowed around her. Carrying her 
loom, she went down with the 
rest into the court and sat in 
her usual place. The work be- 

'T'ime stretched away wearily 
into the future. How many 
mornings in her life would she 
sit here, where she sat now, be- 
ginning to weave as she did now? 
How could she endure it? How 
had she ever endured it? She 
put her fingers on the controls 
of the loom, but the effort to 
move them appalled her. A tear 
dropped bright on the keyboard. 

Mia leaned over toward her. 
“Is there anything the matter? 
Don’t you feel well?’ 

Her fists clenched uselessly. “I 
can’t — I can’t — ” was all she 
could utter. Hot tears were run- 
ning down her face; her jaw was 
shaking. She bowed her head 
over the loom. 

The others clustered around 
her. “Sick?” “What’s the trou- 
ble?” “It was her first time, re- 
member.” Then Vivana’s big 
voice: “All right, what’s wrong?” 



She lifted her face. “He’s gone, 
Vivana. I can’t — ” 

“Of course he is. Don’t be a 
silly girl.” A big arm went a- 
round her comfortingly. 

“But I love him!” 

“Well, of course you did. Noth- 
ing to cry about. Now sit up and 
behave yourself.” She held 
Mary’s chin, squinting at her 
critically. “Hm. I don’t suppose 
you’ve had much sleep. Didn’t 
eat a bite at breakfast, either, did 

The tears kept on flowing, si- 
lently; Mary could not stop 

“She isn’t as strong as — ” 
someone whispered. 

“Shush! Now look here.” Vi- 
vana’s voice grew gentler. “I’m 
going to let you off weaving this 
morning. Go up and get some 
sleep, if you want to. Or go down 
to the pools and take the sun. 
Go on with you now; don’t worry 
about the loom.” 

Mary stood up, drying her 
eyes, feeling miserable but flat- 
tered by the attention. The other 
sisters drifted back to their work. 
Vivana, taking Mary’s arm, 
walked her over to the archway. 
“Listen,” she said in a hoarse 
undertone, “how long since 
you’ve been to church?” 

“I don’t know. A few weeks. 
Or a month. Why?” 

“Better go this morning. It’ll 
do you good, believe me — take 

my advice.” With a final squeeze, 
Vivana let go her arm and turn- 
ed away. 


I liria was neither wearisomely 
flat, nor cone-shaped nor 
pyramidal in its construction, 
like some of the northern islands, 
but was charmingly hollowed, 
like a cradle. The old cobble- 
stoned streets rose and fell; 
there were stairways, balconies, 
arcades; never a vista, always a 
new prospect. The buildings 
were pleasingly various, some 
domed and spired, others spraw- 
ling. Cream was the dominent 
color, with accents of cool light 
blue, yellow and rose. 

For more than three hundred 
years the island had been afloat, 
just as it now was: the same 
plazas with their fountains, the 
same shuttered windows, the 
same rooftops. The people, too, 
were unchanged. Making the 
best of their reduced stock of 
healthy genes, Iliria’s founders 
had chosen some two hundred 
types, all congenial, sturdy, in- 
dustrious and cheerful, to be re- 
produced over and over, time 
without end. Every Ilirian male 
was sterilized before puberty; 
the race had its only immortali- 
ty in the incubators and frozen- 
storage units of the clans’ birth 



During the last century, some 
colonies had been creeping back 
onto the land as the contamina- 
tion diminished; but every 
Ilirian knew that only island life 
was perfect. 

Above, the unchanging streets 
and buildings served each gen- 
eration as the last. Down below, 
the storage chambers, engine 
rooms, seines, preserving rooms, 
conveniently out of sight and 
hearing, went on functioning as 
they always had. Unsinkable, 
sheathed in ceramic above and 
below, the island would go on 
floating just as it now was, for- 

It was strange to Mary to see 
the familiar streets so empty. 
The morning light lay softly 
along the walls. In comers blue 
shadow gathered. Behind every 
door and window there was a 
subdued hum of activity; the 
clans were at their work. All the 
way to the church circle, she 
passed no one but a Messenger 
and two Carters with their loads. 
All three looked at her curiously 
until she was out of sight. 

Climbing the Hill of Carpen- 
ters, she saw the gray dome of 
the church rising against the sky 
— a smooth, unrelieved ovoid, 
with a crescent of morning light 
upon it. Overhead, a flock of 
gulls hung in the air, wings 
spread, rising and dipping. They 
were gray against the light. 

She paused on the porch step 
to look down. From this height 
she could see the quays and the 
breakwater, and the sun on the 
bright-work of the moored 
launches; and then the long roll- 
ing back of the sea, full of white- 
caps in the freshening breeze; 
and beyond that, the dark 
smudge of the land, and the clut- 
ter of brown windowed stone 
that was Porto. She stood look- 
ing at it for a moment, dry-eyed, 
then went into the shadowed 

Clabert the Priest rose up 
from his little desk and came to- 
ward her with inkstained fingers, 
his skirt flapping around his 
ankles. “Good morning, cousin, 
have you a trouble?” 

“I’m in love with a man who 
has gone away.” 

Tie stared at her in perplexity 
for a moment, then darted 
down the corridor to the left. 
“This way, cousin.” She followed 
him past the great doors of the 
central harmonion. He opened a 
smaller door, curved like the end 
of an egg, and motioned her in. 

She stepped inside. The room 
was gray, egg-shaped, and the 
light came uniformly from the 
smooth ceramic walls. “Twenty 
minutes,” said Clabert, and with- 
drew his head. The door shut, 
joining indistinguishably with 
the wall around it 



Mary found herself standing 
on the faintly sloping floor, with 
the smooth single curve of the 
wall surrounding her. After a 
moment she could no longer tell 
how far away the big end of the 
ovicle was; the room seemed 
first quite small, only a few 
yards from one end to the other; 
then it was gigantic, bigger than 
the sky. The floor shifted uncer- 
tainly under her feet, and after 
another moment she sat down 
on the cool hollow slope. 

The silence grew and deepen- 

She had no feeling of confine- 
ment. The air was fresh and in 
constant slight movement. She 
felt faintly and agreeably dizzy, 
and put her arms behind her to 
steady herself. Her vision began 
to blur; the featureless gray 
curve gave her no focus for her 
eyes. Another moment passed, 
and she become aware that the 
muffled silence was really a con- 
tinual slow hush of sound, 
coming from all points at once, 
like the distant murmuring of 
the sea. She held her breath to 
listen, and at once, like dozens 
of wings flicking away in turn, 
the sound stopped. Now, listen- 
ing intently, she could hear a 
still fainter sound, a soft, rapid 
pattering that stopped and came 
again, stopped and came again 
. . . and listening, she realized 
that it was the multiple echo of 




her own heartbeat. She breathed 
again, and the slow hush flooded 

r T~'he wall approached, receded 
-*■... gradually it became 
neither close nor far away; it 
hung gigantically and mistily 
just out of reach. The movement 
of air imperceptibly slowed. 

Lying dazed and unthinking, 
she grew intensely aware of her 
existence, the meaty solidness of 
her flesh, the incessant pumping 
of blood, the sigh of breath, the 
heaviness and pressure, the 
pleasant beading of perspiration 
on her skin. She was whole and 
complete, all the way from 
fingers to toes. She was unique- 
ly herself; somehow she had for- 
gotten how important being her- 
self was . . . 

“Feeling better?” asked Cla- 
bert, as he helped her out of the 

“Yes ...” She was dazed and 
languid; walking was an extra- 
ordinary effort. 

“Come back if you have these 
confusions again,” Clabert called 
after her, standing in the porch 

Without replying, she went 
down the slope in the brilliant 
sunshine. Her head was light, 
her feet were amusingly slow to 
obey her. In a moment she was 
running to catch up with herself, 
down the steep cobbled street in 

a stumbling rush, with faces pop- 
ping out of shutters behind her, 
and fetched up laughing and 
gasping with her arms around a 
light column at the bottom. 

A stout Carter in blue was 
grinning at her out of his tan- 
ned face. “What’s the joke, wom- 

“Nothing,” she stammered. 
“I’ve just been to church.” 

“Ah!” he said, with a finger 
beside his nose, and went on. 

She found herself taking the 
way downward to the quays. 
The sunlit streets were empty; 
no one was in the pools. She 
stripped and plunged in, gasp- 
ing at the pleasure of the cool 
fresh water on her body. And 
even when two Baker boys, an 
older one and a younger came 
by and leaned over the wall 
shouting, “Pretty! Pretty!” she 
felt no confusion, but smiled up 
at them and went on swimming. 

Afterward, she dressed and 
strolled, wet as she was, along 
the sea-wall promenade. Giddily, 
she began to sing as she walked, 
“Open your arms to me, sweet- 
heart, for when the sun shines 
it’s pleasant to be in love . . . ” 
The orchestrinos had been play- 
ing that, that night when — 

She felt suddenly ill, and stop- 
ped with her hand at her fore- 

What was wrong with her? Her 
mind seemed to reel, shake it- 



self from one pattern into anoth- 
er. She swung her head up, look- 
ing with sharp anxiety for the 
brown tangle of buildings on the 

At first it was not there, and 
then she saw it, tiny, almost lost 
on the horizon. The island was 
drifting, moving away, leaving 
the mainland behind. 

She sat down abruptly; her 
legs lost their strength. She put 
her face in her arms and wept: 
“Kief! Oh, Kief!” 

'T^his love that had come to her 
was not the easy, pleasant 
thing the orchestrinos sang of. 
It was a kind of madness. She 
accepted that, and knew herself 
to be mad, yet could not change. 
Waking and sleeping, she could 
think only of Kief. 

Her grief had exhausted itself; 
her eyes were dry. She could see 
herself now as the others saw her 
— as something strange, un- 
pleasant, ill-fitting. What right 
had she to spoil their pleasure? 

She could go back to church, 
and spend another dazed time in 
the ovicle. “If you have these 
confusions again,” the Priest had 
said. She could go every morn- 
ing, if need be, and again every 

She had seen one who needed 
to do as much, silly Marget 
Tailor who always nodded and 
smiled drooling a little, no mat- 

ter what was said to her, and 
who seemed to have a blankness 
behind the glow of happiness in 
her eyes. That was years ago. 
She remembered the sisters al- 
ways complained of the wet 
spots Marget left on her work. 
Something must have happened 
to her; others cut and stitched 
for the Weavers now. 

Or she could hug her pain to 
herself, scourge them with it, 
make them do something . . . 

She had a vision of herself 
running barefoot and ragged 
through the streets, with people 
in their doorways shouting, 
“Crazy Mary! Crazy Mary!” If 
she made them notice her, made 
them bring Kief back ... k 

She stopped eating except ' 
when the other sisters urged her, 
and grew thinner day by day. Her 
cheeks and eyes were hollow. All 
day she sat in the courtyard, not 
weaving, until at length the 
other women’s voices grew 
melancholy and seldom. The 
weaving suffered; there was no 
joy in the clan house. Many 
times Vivana and the others 
reasoned with her, but she could 
only give the same answers over 
again, and at last she stopped 
replying at all. 

“But what do you want?” the 
women asked her, with a note of 
exasperation in their voices. 

What did she want? She want- 
ed Kief to be beside her every 



night when she went to deep, 
and when she wakened in the 
inoming. She wanted his arms 
about her, his voice murmuring 
in her ear. Other men? It was 
not the same thing. But they 
could not understand. 


^Tphe Elders met in a long, low 
room with cream colored 
walls and beams of bone white. 
Behind a plain table of sanded, 
unpolished wood they sat in 
their starched white garments, 
and looked at her with their 
wrinkled dark faces, with their 
great dark eyes that were like 
an aged caricature of her own. 

“Please your ageships,” said 
Vivana uncomfortably, “this is 
the matter of your youngest, 
Mary, who won’t go back to 
work at the looms.” She curtsied 
and sat down. 

“Won’t go back to work?” ask- 
ed the eldest, the crone Laura- 
one, with an incredulous lift of 
her hairless eyebrows. “Is she 
lick then?” 

Vivana bobbed up again. 
“Please your ageship, she’s been 
to the Doctors. They said she 
tiras poorly and gave her a tonic, 
but she threw it away.” 

There was an agitated stir 
among the Elders. Heads bent 
togther; eyes stared at Mary in 
disbelief and alarm. 


“Come closer, child,” said 
Laura-one at last, beckoning 
with a clawed finger. Mary rose 
and walked to the table. 

“Now, then, tell me. Why 
won’t you go back to work? Why 
did you throw the tonic the doc- 
tor gave you away?” 

“I won’t work,” she dared to 
say, “until they give me back 

The Elders looked at each 
other. “Kief? What is Kief?” 

“Kief is my lover!” she said. 
“He had to go back to the Main- 
land, but no one will listen. I 
have to be with him. Either let 
me go, or bring him back. That’s 
all about it,” she finished, and 
folded her arms across her 

“But my dear child,” said 
Laura-one, bending across the 
table, “if I understand what you 
are saying you feel you have a 
claim upon this Kief of yours, 
simply because he lay with you 
a night or two? Is that it?” 

Mary nodded. 

“But don’t you see how absurd 
that is? What if all of us sudden- 
ly decided to feel the same 

“Then each woman would 
have her man, and everyone 
would be happy!” answered 

“My dear, they are all happy 
now. Except you.” 

At these words, Mary found 


herself unable to prevent the 
tears from flowing. She wept 
miserably, and could only sob, 
“He’s mine. I want him! I want 

The Elders looked at each 
other with faces of dismay. At a 
sign from Laura-one, Vivana led 
Mary away. 

“Sisters,” said the eldest, when 
Mary was gone, ‘here’s a pretty 
pail of fish. What’s to be done?” 

“The girl came from a bad 
egg,” said Laura-two, tracing a 
round design on the table with 
her fingertip. “It’s a pity. It 
happens sometimes. There was a 
madman when I was a child, I 
remember the women talking of 
it. Once I think I saw him: wild 
eyes, and he waved his arms. 
Some of the Chemist boys laugh- 
ed, but he frightened me.” 

“What was done with him, do 
you remember?” asked Edna- 

“No. I don’t like to think of 

The others looked at each 
other. “We must help her if we 
can,” said Laura-one. 


“She’s had no man since this 

“It seems not.” 

“If she had one or two, she’d 
soon see there’s little difference.” 

“That’s true.” 

“Let’s think.” The old heads 
leaned nearer across the table. 

t4T>ut why do you want me 
” to make myself pretty?” 
Mary asked with dull curiosity. 

Mia bent over her with a tube 
of cosmetic, touching the pale 
lips with crimson. “Never mind, 
something nice. Here, let me 
smooth your eyebrows. Tut. how 
thin you’ve got! Never mind, 
you’ll look very well. Put on 
your fresh robe, there’s a dear.” 

“I don’t know what difference 
it makes.” But Mary stood up 
and wearily took off her dress, 
thin and pale in the light. She 
put the new robe over her head, 
shrugged her arms into it. 

“Is that all right?” she asked. 

“Dear Mary,” said Mia, with 
tears of sympathy in her eyes. 
“Sweet, no, let me smooth your 
hair. Stand straighter, can’t you? 
How will any man — ” 

“Man?” said Mary. A little 
color came and went in her 
cheeks. “Kief?” 

“No, dear. Forget Kief, will 
you?” Mia’s voice turned sharp 
with exasperation. 

“Oh.” Mary turned her head 

“Can’t you think of anything 
else? Do try, dear. For me. Just 

“All right” 

“Now come along, they’re 
waiting for us.” 

Mary stood up submissively 
and followed her sister out of the 



I n bright sunlight, the women 
stood talking quietly and 
worriedly around the bower. 
With them was a husky Chemist 
with golden brows and hair. His 
pink face was good-natured and 
peaceful. He pinched the near- 
est sister’s buttock and whisper- 
ed something in her ear; she 
slapped his hand irritably. 

“Quick, here they come,” 
said one suddenly. “Go in now. 

With an obedient grimace, the 
blond man ducked his head and 
disappeared into the bower. In 
a moment Mia and Mary came 
into view, the thin girl hanging 
back when she saw the crowd 
and the bower. 

“What is it?” she complained. 
“I don’t want — Mia, let me go.” 
‘“No, dear. Come along. It’s 
for the best, you’ll see,” said the 
other girl soothingly. “Do give 
me a hand here, one of you, 
won’t you?” 

The two women urged the girl 
toward the bower. Her face was 
pale and frightened. “But what 
do you want me to — You said 
Kief wasn’t — Were you only 
teasing me? Is Kief — ?” 

The women gave each other 
looks of despair. “Go in, dear, 
and see, why don’t you?” 

A wild expression came into 
Mary’s eyes. She hesitated, then 
stepped nearer the bower. The 
two women let her go. “Kief?’’’ 


she called plaintively. There was 
no answer. 

“Go in, dear.” 

She looked at them appealing- 
ly, then stopped and put her 
head in. A man’s form lay wait- 
ing for her in the dimness. 
“Kief?” she said. 

The man sat up; strong hands 
caught her wrists, pulled her 
down. His eyes gleamed in the 
dimness; she caught the reek 
of his breath — beer and fish. 
She gasped and began to 

“So, so,” the man muttered, 
holding her body hard against 

“But you’re not Kief! Let me 
go!” She kicked ineffectually, 
clawed at his face. The man 
grunted in surprise. When she 
screamed, he put his hand over 
her mouth. 

“Stop that!” he said, then 
cried out in pain — she had bit- 
ten the meaty pad under his 
thumb. “‘What’s the matter with 

Her limbs had turned weak 
She tried to get up, and this 
time the man’s body rolled away 
from her. Outside the bower, 
anxious voices were calling. 
Weeping, Mary got to hands and 
knees, then struggled to her feet. 

“What’s the matter with you?” 
the man’s voice said again, in a 
tone of anger. 

She came out into the light, 

blinded by tears. Her robe was 
wadded somehow around her 
waist, and she could not see to 
pull it down. Bent over, tuggir.'i 
at the robe to cover herself, she 
walked past the blurred faces, 
the reaching hands. 

“Mary, wait — ” “Dear, what 
is it — what did he do?” 

“She bit me!” came the man’s 
indignant voice. 

“You fool, you must have 
been too rough.” 

Somewhere up the slope, an 
orchestrino began playing. “If 
you would not be cruel, torment 
me no more. Do not deny me 
ever; let it be now or never. Give 
me your love, then, as you 
promised me before ...” 


T Ter ageship, Laura-one, the 
-*■ eldest Weaver, was pacing 
up and down the sea-wall 
promenade, knotting her fingers 
together in silent agitation. Once 
she paused to look over the 
parapet. Below her the wall 
dropped sheer to blue water. She 
glanced over at the blur of Porto, 
half concealed in the morning 
haze, and at the stark hills above 
with their green fur of returning 

Her eyes were still keen. Half- 
way across the distance, she 
could make out a tiny dark dot 
moving toward the island. 

Footsteps sounded in the 
street below. In a moment Vi- 
vana appeared, holding Mary by 
the arm. The younger woman’s 
eyes were downcast; the older 
looked worried and anxious. 

“Here she is, your ageship,” 
said Vivana. “They found her 
at the little jetty, throwing bot- 
tles into the sea.” 

“Again?” asked the old wom- 
an. “What was in the bottles?” 
“Here’s one of them,” said Vi- 
vana, handing over a crumpled 

“Tell Kief the Fisher of the 
town of Porto that Mary Weaver 
still loves him,” the old woman 
read. She folded the paper slow- 
ly and put it into her pocket. 
“Always the same,” she said. 
“Mary, my child, don’t you 
know that these bottles never 
can reach your Kief?” 

The young woman did not 
raise her head or speak. 

“And twice this month the 
Fishers have had to catch you 
and bring you back when you 
stole a launch,” the old woman 
continued. “Child, don’t you see 
that this must end?” 

Mary did not answer. 

“And these things that you 
weave, when you weave at all.” 
said Laura-one, taking a wadded 
length of cloth from her apron 
pocket. She spread it taut and 
held it to the light. In the pat- 
tern, visible only, when the light 



fell glancingly upon it, was 
woven the figure of a seated 
woman with a child in her arms. 
Around them were birds with 
spread wings among the inter- 
twined stems of flowers. 

“Who taught you to weave 
like this, child?” she asked. 

“No one,” said Mary, not 
looking up. 

The old woman looked down 
at the cloth again. “It’s beautiful 
work, but — ” She sighed and 
put the cloth away. ‘We have no 
place for it. Child, you weave 
so well, why can’t you weave 
the usual patterns?” 

“They are dead. This one is 

The old woman sighed again. 
“And how long is it that you 
have been demanding your Kief 
back, dear?” 

“Seven months.” 

“But now think.” The old 
woman paused, glanced over her 
shoulder. The black dot on the 
sea was much nearer, curving in 
toward the jetty below. “Sup- 
pose this Kief did receive one of 
your messages. What then?” 
“He would know how much I 
love him,” said Mary, raising 
her head. Color came into her 
cheeks: her eyes brightened. 

■“And that would change his 
whole life, his loyalties, every- 


“And if it did not?” 

Mary was silent. 

“Child, if that failed, would 
you confess that you have been 
wrong? Would you let us help 

“It wouldn’t fail,” Mary said 

“But if it did?” the older 
woman insisted gently. “Just 
suppose — just let yourself 

Mary was silent a moment. 
“I would want to die,” she said. 

'T'he two elder Weavers looked 
at each other, and for a 
moment neither spoke. 

“May I go now?” Mary asked. 

Vivana cast a glance down at 
the jetty, and said quickly, 
“Maybe it’s best, your ageship. 
Tell them — ” 

Laura-one stopped her with a 
raised hand. Her lips were com- 
pressed. “And if you go, child, 
what will you do now?” 

“Go and make more messages, 
to put into bottles.” 

The old woman sighed. “You 
see?” she said to Vivana. 

Footsteps sounded faintly on 
the jetty stair. A man’s head ap- 
peared. He was an island Fisher, 
stocky, dark-haired, with a 
heavy black mustache. “Your 
ageship, the man is here,” he 
said, saluting Laura-one. “Shall 
I — ?” 

“No,” said Vivana involuntari- 
ly. “Don’t. Send him back.” 



“What would be the good of 
that?” the old woman asked rea- 
sonably. “No, bring him up, 

The Fisher nodded, turned 
and was gone down the stair. 

Mary’s head had come up. She 
said, “The man — ?” 

“There, it’s all right,” said Vi- 
vana, going to her. 

“Is it Kief?” she asked fear- 

The older woman did not 
reply. In a moment the black- 
mustached Fisher appeared 
again; he stared at them, climbed 
to the head of the stair, stood 

Behind him, after a moment, 
another head rose out of the 
stairwell. Under the russet hair, 
the face was grave and thin. The 
gray eyes went to Laura-one. 
then to Mary; they stared at her, 
as the man continued to climb 
the steps. He reached the top, 
and stood waiting, hands at 
his sides. The black-mustached 
Fisher turned and descended be- 
hind him. 

Mary had begun to tremble 
all over. 

“There, dear, it’s all right,” 
said Vivana, pressing her arms. 
As if the words had released her, 
Mary walked to the Fisher. 
Tears were shining on her face. 
She clutched his tunic with both 
hands, staring up at him. “Kief?” 
she said. 

His hands came up to hold her. 
She threw herself against him 
then, so violently that he stag- 
gered, and clutched him as if she 
wished to bury herself in his 
body. Strangled, hurt sounds 
came out of her. 

The man looked over her head 
at the two older women. “Can’t 
you leave us alone for a mo- 
ment?” he asked tonelessly. 

“Of course,” said Laura-one, 
a little surprised. “Why not? Of 
course.” She gestured to Vivana, 
and the two turned, walked 
away a little distance down the 
promenade to a bench, where 
they sat looking out over the sea 

Gulls mewed overhead. The 
two women sat side by side with- 
out speaking or looking at one 
another. They were not quite 
out of earshot. 


t tX s it really you?” Mary ask- 

X ed, holding his face be- 
tween her hands. She tried to 
laugh. “Darling, I can’t see . . . 
you’re all blurred.” 

“I know,” said Kief quietly. 
“Mary, I’ve thought about you 
many times.” 

“Have you?” she cried. "Oh, 
that makes me so happy. Oh. 
Kief, I could die now! Hold me, 
hold me.” 

His face hardened. His hands 



absently stroked her back, up 
and down. “They sent me to talk 
to you,” he said. “They thought 
you might listen to me. I’m sup- 
posed to cure you.” 

“Of loving you?” Mary laugh- 
ed. At the sound, his hands 
tightened involuntarily on her 
back. “How foolish they were! 
How foolish, Kief!” 

“Mary, we have only these 
few minutes,” he said. 

She drew back a little to look 
at him. “I don’t understand.” 
“I’m to talk to you, and then 
go back. That’s all I’m here for.” 
She shook her head in disbe- 
lief. “But you told me — ” 
“Mary, listen to me. There is 
nothing else to do. Nothing.” 
“Take me back with you. 
Kief.” Her hands gripped him 
hard. “That’s what I want — 
just to be with you. Take me 

“And where will you live? In 
the Fishers’ dormitory with forty 

“I’ll live anywhere, in the 
streets, I don’t care — ” 

“They would never allow it. 
You know that, Mary.” 

She was crying, holding him, 
shuddering all over. “Don’t tell 
me that, don’t say it. Even if it’s 
true, can’t you pretend a little? 
Hold me, Kief! Tell me that you 
love me.” 

“I love you,” he said. 

“Tell me that you’ll keep me 

— never let me go — no matter 
what they say.” 

He was silent a moment. “Ifi 


She raised her head. 

“Try to realize,” he said. “Thia 
is a sickness, Mary. You must 
cure yourself.” 

“Then you’re sick too!” she 

“Maybe I am, but I’ll get well, 
because I know I have to. And 
you must get well too. Forget me. 
Go back to your sisters and your 

“No, never,” she said. 

“You must. Promise me, 
Mary.” He held her tighter. “Do 
you understand? It’s important 
to me. I must know, before I 
leave, that you’ll let them cure 
you. Otherwise — ” 


“I couldn’t bear it,” he said. 

She put her cheek against his 
chest, gazing out across the 
bright ocean. “Let me just be 
quiet with you a moment,” she 
said. ‘“I won’t cry any more. 
Kief — ?” 


“Is that all you have to say 
to me?” 

“It has to be all.” His eyes 
closed, opened again. “Mary, I 
didn’t want to feel this way. 
It’s wrong, it’s unhealthy, it 
hurts. Promise me, before I go. 
Say you’ll let them cure you.” 

She pushed herself away, 



wiped her eyes and her cheeks 
wth the heel of one hand. Then 
she looked up. “I’ll let them cure 
me,” she said. 

His face contorted. “Thank 
you. I’ll go now, Mary.” 

“One more kiss!” she cried, 
moving toward him involuntari- 
ly. “Only one more!” 

TTe kissed her on the lips, then 
wrenched himself away, and 
looking down to where the two 
women sat, he made an angry 
motion with his head. 

As they rose and came nearer, 
he held Mary at arm’s length. 
“Now I’m really going,” he said 
harshly. “Good-by, Mary.’” 

“Good-by, Kief.” Her fingers 
were clasped tight at her waist. 

The man waited, looking over 
her head, until Vivana came up 
and took her arms gently. Then 
he moved away. At the head of 
the stairs he looked at her once 
more; then he turned and began 
to descend. 

“Dear, it will be better now, 
you’ll see,” said Vivana uncer- 

Mary said nothing. She stood 
still, listening to the faint sounds 
that echoed up from the stair- 
well: footsteps, voices, hollow 

There was a sudden stir, then 
footsteps mounting the stair. 

Kief appeared again, chest heav- 
ing, eyes bright. He seized both 
of Mary’s hands in his. “Listen!” 
he said. “I’m mad. You’re mad. 
We’re both going to die.” 

“I don’t care!” she said. Her 
face was glowing as she looked 
up at him. 

“They say some of the streams 
are running pure, in the hills. 
Grass is growing there — there 
are fish in the streams, even the 
wild fowl are coming back. We’ll 
go there, Mary, together — just 
you and I. Alone. Do you under- 

“Yes, Kief, yes, darling.” 
“Then come on!” 

“Wait!” cried Laura-one shril- 
ly after them as they fan down 
the stair. “How will you live? 
What will you eat? Think what 
you are doing!” 

Faint hollow sounds answered 
her, then the purr of a motor. 

Vivana moved to Laura-one’s 
side, and the two women stood 
watching, stricken silent, as the 
dark tiny shape of the launch 
moved out into the brightness. 
In the cockpit they could make 
out the two figures close togeth- 
er, dark head and light. The 
launch moved steadily toward 
the land; and the two women 
stood staring, unable to speak, 
long after it was out of sight. 







Why was the Moan at peace 
when all the rest of the 
Solar System was at war? 

4tT had no idea,” said the UN 
A representative as they step- 
ped through the airlock hatch, 
“that the United States’ lunar 
base was so big, and so thorough- 
ly well equipped.” 

“It’s a big operation, all right,” 
Colonel Patton answered, grin- 
ning slightly. His professional 
satisfaction showed even behind 
the faceplate of his pressure 

The pressure in the airlock 
equalibrated, and they squirmed 

out of their aluminized protec- 
tive suits. Patton was big, scrap- 
ing the maximum limit for space- 
vehicle passengers, Torgeson, the 
UN man, was slight, thin-hair- 
ed, bespectacled and somehow 

They stepped out of the air- 
lock, into the corridor that ran 
the length of the huge plastic 
dome that housed Headquar- 
ters, U. S. Moonbase. 

“What’s behind all the doors?” 
Torgeson asked. His English had 


a slight Scandinavian twang to 
it. Patton found it a little irri- 

“On the right,” the colonel 
answered, businesslike, “are of- 
ficers’ quarters, galley, officers’ 
mess, various laboratories and 
the headquarters staff offices. On 
the left are the computers.” 
Torgeson blinked. “You mean 
that half this building is taken 
up by computers? But why in 
the world . . . that is, why do 
you need so many? Isn’t it 
frightfully expensive to boost 
them up here? I know it cost 
thousands of dollars for my own 
flight to the Moon. The compu- 
ters must be — ” 

“Frightfully expensive,” Pat- 
ton agreed, with feeling. “But we 
need them. Believe me we need 

They walked the rest of the 
way down the long corridor in si- 
lence. Patton’s office was at the 
very end of it. The colonel open- 
ed the door and ushered in the 
UN representative. 

“A sizeable office,” Torgeson 
said. “And a window!’ 

“One of the privileges of 
rank,” Patton answered, smiling 
tightly. “That white antenna 
mast off on the horizon belongs 
to the Russian base.” 

“Ah, yes. Of course. I shall 
be visiting them tomorrow.” 
Colonel Patton nodded and 
gestured Torgeson to a chair as 


he walked behind his metal desk 
and sat down. 

“Now then,” said the colonel. 
“You are the first man allowed 
to set foot in this Moonbase who 
is not a security-cleared, triple- 
checked, native-born, Govern- 
ment-employed American. God 
knows how you got the Pentagon 
to okay your trip. But — now 
that you’re here, what do you 

Torgeson took off his rimless 
glasses and fiddled with them. 
“I suppose the simplest answer 
would be the best. The United 
Nations must — absolutely must 
— find out how and why you 
and the Russians have been able 
to live peacefully here on the 

P atton’s mouth opened, but no 
words came out. He closed 
it with a click. 

“Americans and Russians,” the 
UN man went on, “have fired at 
each other from orbiting satel- 
lite vehicles. They have exchang- 
ed shots at both the North and 
South Poles. Career diplomats 
have scuffled like prizefighters 
in the halls of the United Na- 
tions building ...” 

“I didn’t know that.” 

“Oh, yes. We have kept it 
quiet, of course. But the tensions 
are becoming unbearable. Every- 
where on Earth the two sides are 
armed to the teeth and on the 


verge of disaster. Even in space 
they fight. And yet, here on the 
Moon, you and the Russians live 
side by side in peace. We must 
know how you do it!” 

Patton grinned. “You came on 
a very appropriate day, in that 
case. Well, let’s see now . . . how 
to present the picture. You know 
that the environment here is ex- 
tremely hostile : airless, low 

gravity ...” 

“The environment here on the 
Moon,” Torgeson objected, “is 
no more hostile than that of 
orbiting satellites. In fact, you 
have some gravity, solid ground, 
large buildings — many advan- 
tages that artificial satellites 
lack. Yet there has been fighting 
aboard the satellites — and not 
on the Moon. Please don’t waste 
my time with platitudes. This 
trip is costing the UN too much 
money. Tell me the truth.” 
Patton nodded. “I was going 
to. I’ve checked the information 
sent up by Earthbase : you’ve 
been cleared by the White 
House, the AEC, NASA and even 
the Pentagon.” 


“Okay. The plain truth of the 
matter is — ” A soft chime from 
q small clock on Patton’s desk 

interrupted him. “Oh. Excuse 


Torgeson sat back and watch- 
ed as Patton carefully began 
clearing off all the articles on his 

desk: the clock, calendar, phone, 
IN/OUT baskets, tobacco can 
and pipe rack, assorted papers 
and reports — all neatly and 
quickly placed in the desk draw- 
ers. Patton then stood up, walk- 
ed to the filing cabinet, and clos- 
ed the metal drawers firmly. 

He stood in the middle of the 
room, scanned the scene with ap- 
parent satisfaction, and then 
glanced at his wristwatch. 

“Okay,” he said to Torgeson. 
“Get down on your stomach.” 


“Like this,” the colonel said, 
and prostrated himself on the 
rubberized floor. 

Torgeson stared at him. 

“Come on! There’s only a few 

Patton reached up and grasp- 
ed the UN man by the wrist. Un- 
believingly, Torgeson got out of 
the chair, dropped to his hands 
and knees and finally flattened 
himself on the floor, next to the 

For a second or two they star- 
ed at each other, saying nothing. 

“Colonel, this is embar — .” 

The room exploded into a shat- 
tering volley of sounds. 

Qomething — many some- 
things — ripped through the 
walls. The air hissed and whined 
above the heads of the two 
prostrate men. The metal desk 
and file cabinet rang eerily. 



Torgeson squeezed his eyes 
shut and tried to worm into the 
floor. It was just like being shot 

Abruptly it was over. 

The room was quiet once 
again, except for a faint hissing 
sound. Torgeson opened his eyes 
and saw the colonel getting up. 
The door was flung open. Three 
sergeants rushed in, armed with 
patching disks and tubes of 
cement. They dashed around the 
office sealing up the several hun- 
dred holes in the walls. 

Only gradually, as the ser- 
geants carried on their fevered, 
wordless task, did Torgeson re- 
alize that the walls were actual- 
ly a quiltwork of patches. The 
room must have been riddled re- 
peatedly ! 

He climbed slowly to his feet. 
“Meteors?” he asked, with a 
slight squeak in his voice. 

Colonel Patton grunted nega- 
tively and resumed his seat be- 
hind the desk. It was pockmark- 
ed, Torgeson noticed now. So 
was the file cabinet. 

“The window, in case you’re 
wondering, is bulletproof.” 

Torgeson nodded and sat 

“You see,” the colonel said, 
"life is not as peaceful here as 
you think. Oh, we get along fine 
with the Russians — now. We’ve 
learned to live in peace. We had 

“What were those . . . things?” 


“Bullets? But how — ” 

The sergeants finished their 
frenzied work, lined up at the 
door and saluted. Colonel Patton 
returned the salute and they 
turned as one man and left the 
office, closing the door quietly 
behind them. 

“Colonel, I’m frankly be- 

“It’s simple enough to under- 
stand. But don’t feel too badly 
about being surprised. Only the 
top level of the Pentagon knows 
about this, And the president, of 
course. They had to let him in 
on it.” 

“What happened?” 

Colonel Patton took his pipe 
rack and tobacco can out of a 
desk drawer and began filling 
one of the pipes. “You see,” he 
began, “the Russians and us, we 
weren’t always so peaceful here 
on the Moon. We’ve had our in- 
cidents and scuffles, just as you 
have on Earth.” 

“Go on.” 

“Well — ” he struck a match 
and puffed the pipe alight — 
“shortly after we set up this 
dome for Moonbase HQ, and the 
Reds set up theirs, we got 
into some real arguments.” He 
waved the match out and tossed 
it into the open drawer. 

“We’re situated on the Ocean- 
us Procellarum, you know. Ex- 



actly on the lunar equator. One 
of the biggest open spaces on this 
hunk of airless rock. Well, the 
Russians claimed they owned the 
whole damned Oceanus, since 
they were here first. We main- 
tained the legal ownership was 
not established, since according 
to the UN Charter and the 
subsequent covenants — ” 
“Spare the legal details! 
Please, what happened?” 

Patton looked slightly hurt. 
“Well ... we started shooting 
at each other. One of their guards 
fired at one our guards. They 
claim it was the other way 
round, of course. Anyway, within 
twenty minutes we were fighting 
a regular pitched battle, right 
out there between our base and 
theirs.” He gestured toward the 

“Can you fire guns in airless 

“Oh, sure. No problem at all. 
However, something unexpected 
came up.” 


“Only a few men got hit in 
the battle, none of them serious- 
ly. As in all battles, most of the 
rounds fired were clean misses.” 

Patton smiled grimly. “So one 
of our civilian mathematicians 
started doodling. We had sev- 
eral thousand very-high-velocity 
bullets fired off. In airless space. 
No friction, you see. And under 

low-gravity conditions. They 
went right along past their tar- 
gets — ” 

Recognition dawned on Torge- 
son’s face. “Oh, no!” 

'TPnat’s right. They whizzed 
right along, skimmed over 
the mountain tops, thanks to the 
curvature of this damned short 
lunar horizon, and established 
themselves in rather eccentric 
satellite orbits. Every hour or 
so they return to perigee . . . 
or, rather, periluna. And every 
twenty-seven days, periluna is 
right here, where the bullets ori- 
ginated. The Moon rotates on 
its axis every twenty-seven days, 
you see. At any rate, when they 
come back this way, they shoot 
the living hell out of our base — 
and the Russian base, too, of 

“But can’t you ...” 

“Do what? Can’t move the 
base. Authorization is tied up in 
the Joint Chiefs of staff, and 
they can’t agree on where to 
move it to. Can’t bring up any 
special shielding material, be- 
cause that’s not authorized, eith- 
er. The best thing we can do is 
to requisition all the computers 
we can and try to keep track 
of all the bullets. Their orbits 
keep changing, you know, every 
time they go through the bases. 
Air friction, puncturing walls, 
ricochets off the furniture . . . 



all that keeps changing their or- 
bits enough to keep our compu- 
ters busy full time.” 

“My God!” 

“In the meantime, we don’t 
dare fire off any more rounds. 
It would overburden the compu- 
ters and we’d lose track of all of 
’em. Then we’d have to spend 
every twenty-seventh day flat 
on our faces for hours.” 

Torgeson sat in numbed si- 

“But don’t worry,” Patton con- 
cluded with an optimistic, pro- 

fessional grin. “I’ve got a small 
detail of men secretly at work 
on the far side of the base — 
where the Reds can’t see — 
building a stone wall. That’ll 
stop the bullets. Then we’ll fix 
those warmongers once and for 

Torgeson’s face went slack. 
The chime sounded, muffled, 
from inside Patton’s desk. 

“Better get set to flatten out 
again. Here comes the second 
volley.” — BEN BOV A 




Cordwainer Smith 



E. E. Smith, Ph.D. 



George O. Smith 

FIRE, 2019! 

t C kilTU Jack Smith 






J All in the Moy IF — still on sale! And don't forget — starting with the 

"X July issue IF GOES MONTHLY! 




They might not have been quite 
authentic, but they were really 
sincere. In fact, they were — 




by J. W. GROVES 



"yX7"hen Bettycee saw what the 
men were doing at the 
spaceship her first reaction was 
characteristic. Oh! she thought. 
Tomcee shouldn’t be helping. 
Not in his condition. 

Then the full significance of 
what they were up to hit her. 
She gasped, and listened for a 
moment to their incredible con- 
versation. Panic-stricken, she 
squealed and, thankful for the 
adaptability of a truly human 
body, flattered for herself the 
six-foot long legs of an ostrich- 
toad. With huge strides she raced 

across the heathery slopes of 
Berlin and round the wooded 
base of the hill, New York, back 
to Bettyaye and Bettybee. She 
dropped down to her normal 
height and breathlessly gasped 
out the news. 

Bettybee blinked. “Satan finds 
mischief for idle hands to do!” 
she exclaimed indignantly. 

Bettyaye drew herself to her 
full height. She was, naturally, 
a tall blonde with greenish eyes, 
as all women have been since 
the human race began. But she 
was sterner and fiercer than the 
other two, and the staunchest up- 
holder of the ancient Beliefs. 




“It’s that filthy science of theirs, 
and that ridiculous Arrhenius 
theory,” she said. “It leads them 
further and further into lies and 
other unrighteous things every 

Bettycee nodded, but she was 
herself. It had been her duty to 
tell the others about the men, 
of course. But she wished there 
had been some way of avoiding 
it. She knew only too well what 
it would lead to. 

She spoke timidly. “Perhaps 
— well, it doesn’t excuse the men 
for shifting things, of course, but 
I mean they could be right about 
a second spaceship, couldn’t 
they? If it were bringing Some- 
body and his watt.” 

“Somebody!” said Bettyaye 
impatiently. “That’s the only 
part of the Beliefs you ever think 
about. Anyway, did anybody ever 
say anything about Somebody 
using a spaceship to come?” 

Bettycee shook her head mis- 
erably. Nobody ever had. 

“Watt can’t be cured. Must be 
endured,” said Betybee cryptic- 

“Well, all I meant was — ” be- 
gan Bettycee. But she was wast- 
ing her breath. The other two 
had already gone. 

Ohe caught them up just as 
^ they reached the spaceship. 
The men were well forward with 
their work by now. One instru- 

ment, made of twisted metal, was 
out on the grass, and they were 
just lifting another, consisting 
largely of shattered crystal, 
through the spaceship entrance. 

Bettyaye raised her voice to a 
scream. “How dare you! Put 
them back at once!” 

Tomaye looked at her haught- 
ily. “We need both the telescope 
and the radar for observing the 
second spaceship.” 

Tombee nodded. “That’s a 
known scientific fact,” he said. 

Bettycee blinked. Everybody 
inherits ancestral memory from 
Original-Betty and Original- 
Tom, of course; but at times 
Bettycee suspected that she had 
acquired more of it than other 
people had. She felt quite sure 
that a radar and a telescope 
ought to be a lot less crushed 
and broken than that if you were 
going to use them for observing 
things. Still, the men were sci- 
entists. So perhaps they liked to 
have scientific instruments 
around them while they worked, 
even if they couldn’t really ob- 
serve with anything but their 

Tomcee spoke gently. “We are 
doing this as much for the good 
of your sex as ours, really,” he 

Bettycee’s heart warmed for 
him. There he was — still work- 
ing much too hard for a man in 
his condition — and yet he found 



time to be considerate and think 
of other people. 

Bettybee did not share her 
sentiments. She sidled up to 
Betty aye, then glared at Tomcee. 
“The road to hell is paved with 
good intentions,” she snapped. 

That anybody else had man- 
aged to speak at all so far was 
due only to the fact that Betty- 
aye had been choked into sil- 
ence by indignation. Now she re- 
covered a little. “The whole idea 
of a second spaceship is sheer 
blasphemy!” she screamed. 
“And taking things out of the 
one and only spaceship is sacri- 
lege. Your pretended belief in 
this disgusting Arrhenius theory 
doesn’t excuse either.” 

Tomaye bristled, and did his 
best as a mere male to out-bawl 
her. “Old, discredited supersti- 
tions must always give way be- 
fore the needs of scientific in- 
vestigation!” he yelled. 

Tombee nodded solemnly. 
“That’s a known scientific fact,” 
he concurred. 

Bettycee groaned inwardly 
and tried to shut her ears to all 
of it. It had all been gone over 
so often before. Over and over 
and over again ever since the 
human race began. 

'T'he women were Believers, 
holding fast to the ancient 
faith in a single, uniquely-creat- 
ed spaceship that had by divine 

command been sent from Origi- 
nal-Earth to Earth, in order to 
found the human race. And al- 
though it was Bettyaye that did 
most talking about it, Bettycee’s 
belief in this was as deep and 
profound as anybody’s. Indeed, 
among the ancestral memories 
that had been passed down to 
her was one quite distinct one 
about Original-Betty being on 
Original-Earth. And Original- 
Earth, it seemed, had even had 
places on it called New York 
and Berlin and London; though 
they were not nice places like 
the real ones, but rather nasty 
spots full of piled-up stone and 
metal and noisy rushing ma- 

The men, however, refused to 
accept any of this. Strictly sci- 
entific, they were dedicated to 
the Arrhenius theory that space 
was filled with a number of life- 
spores, or ships, each with its 
own cargo of would-be flattered- 
ones like Original-Tom and 
Original-Betty, that were driven 
onward by the pressure of light 
until by chance one of them 
crashed on a suitable planet. 

And really, thought Bettycee, 
although it’s quite a stupid idea 
I don’t see why the men 
shouldn’t keep it if it amuses 
them. I really don't see why 
we’ve got to wait for Somebody 
to come with his watt before we 
stop quarreling about it. 



She blinked, realizing sudden- 
ly that the men had finished 
talking and were acting. They 
had shouldered the radar and 
telescope and were marching off 
with them through the trees 
across the heathery slope of Ber- 
lin towards the hill, New York. 

Bettyaye, white-faced from 
shock, took action herself. She 
left the side of the other women, 
ran round in front of the men 
and threw her arms wide, sacri- 
ficing half her body weight to 
gain extra spread. 

“Stop! In the name of the flat- 
tered-ones, stop!” 

The men marched forward. 
Bettyaye held her ground. Then 
a pointed piece of metal stick- 
ing out from the radar poked at 
the middle of her chest, forcing 
her to grow a hole to accom- 
modate it. She squealed and 
wriggled aside. The men went 
straight on. 

As Bettyaye began to flatter 
herself the strongest vocal cords 
and longest tongue ever, Betty- 
cee turned and ran off through 
the trees. She just couldn’t bear 
to know what happened next. 


A fter running for a while 
she slowed down, but she 
went on walking around on her 
own for a long time, trying hard 
not to think about anything. 

Then, gradually, she drifted 
back. After all, she had to know 
what had happened, however 
dreadful it was. 

She found Bettyaye and Betty- 
bee standing before the Ship, 
talking. The men were nowhere 
to be seen. Bettyaye looked up 
as she approached, and spoke 

“So there you are.” 

“Time and tide wait for no 
man,” said Bettybee. 

“Don’t they?” said Bettycee. 
“No,” snapped Bettyaye. “Do 
you realize that the men have 
already got the telescope and ra- 
dar in place on the side of New 
York and we haven’t even start- 
ed our preparations yet?” 

“Oh,” said Bettycee. She 
thought of something that had 
not occurred to her before. 
“What makes them feel so sure 
that a second spaceship is com- 
ing now?” 

Bettyaye snorted. “Tomaye 
claims to have seen something 
up there; and to know it’s a ship 
just because it changed direc- 
tion. According to him no inert 
object following a natural orbit 
ever does that, though how much 
he knows about it — ” 

“Sticks and stones may break 
my bones, but names never hurt 
me,” interrupted Bettybee. 

Bettyaye nodded. “You’re 
right. It’s a waste of time just 
telling each other what we think 



of them. We’ve got to do some- 

Bettycee blinked. “But — but 
what can we possibly do?” 
Bettyaye glared at her. “Not 
everybody has spent their time 
in the woods sulking,” she said. 
“We’ve got a plan.” She began to 
speak more briskly. “You’re the 
best of us at doing out-of-the-way 
flatterings, so you’d better play 
the would-be. Nobody knows 
how one should look, so it 
doesn’t matter what shape you 
take so long as the men don’t 
recognize you.” 

Bettycee’s head was beginning 
to whirl. “But why shouldn’t 
they recognize me? I mean, 
Tomcee might — ” 

“Don’t be stupid,” snapped 
Bettyaye. “If they recognize you 
when you walk down to them we 
will have wasted our time push- 
ing the observation dome up so 
that it shows above the top of 
New York. They’ll know it’s 
only the old one that’s been 
shifted, not a new one that’s just 

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis 
folly to be wise,” said Bettybee. 

“Exactly!” Bettyaye nodded 
triumphantly. “And the more 
blissfully ignorant we can keep 
the men, thinking that a second 
ship and another would-be flat- 
tered-one have proved their Ar- 
rhenius theory, the bigger fools 
they will look.” 

Bettycee started to understand 
what it was all about. “Oh!” she 
said. “Oh, but I think — ” 
“Well?” said Bettyaye omi- 
nously. “What do you think?” 
Bettycee gulped twice, and 
tried to find enough courage. 
But it was no good. She just 
couldn’t say it. Not to Bettyaye’s 

'lA7'hen she wandered off in- 
to the woods for the sec- 
ond time she wasn’t running 
away again. Not because she 
didn’t want to, but because she 
knew it would be a waste of 
time. She’d been allowed this 
break only because everything 
was ready except the men. They, 
it seemed, were not expecting 
their second ship just yet, since 
they had left the telescope and 
radar and wandered off some- 

Bettycee didn’t know where 
they had gone, but she hadn’t 
left the other two women very 
far behind when she heard the 
rumble of Tomaye’s voice, and 
Tombee’s assurance that that 
was a “known scientific fact.” 
She turned aside. She didn’t 
want to talk to those two now. 

When she saw Tomcee sitting 
alone in a little copse she told 
herself that she didn’t want to 
talk to him either. But somehow 
she found herself walking up to 
him. He looked up and smiled 



as she sat down. “Hello, dear. 
I’m glad you’ve come. I’ve been 
wanting to talk to you about 

“Have you, darling?” 

“Yes. This thing that’s going 
to happen to us soon.” He blush- 
ed faintly. “Don’t you think it’s 
rather beautiful that two such 
things should occur at once? 
That, and the coming of a new 
race to this old planet Earth.” 
Bettycee couldn’t remember ' 
ever having felt so wretched be- 
fore. Oh, the poor darling? He 
really believed it! It was too 

“Look, Tomcee,” she began 
miserably. “Don’t build your 
hopes up too much — ” 

“Why not?” 

Misery made Bettycee reck- 
less. Frantically she tried to keep 
all thoughts of Bettyaye out of 
her mind. “Well, supposing — I 
mean just supposing — some- 
body was playing a trick on 

“A trick?” 

“Yes. Trying to make some- 
tiling look as if it was so when 
it wasn’t, just to alter your be- 
liefs and things.” 

Tomcee smiled- tolerantly. 
“But that’s the advantage of sci- 
ence, my dear. We don’t have 
Beliefs. All our conclusions are 
based on the application of rea- 
sons to observable data. Nobody 
could play a trick like that” 


“Oh. But what if a — ” 

r T~'omcee interrupted rather 
more forcefully than was 
usual for him. “Please let’s leave 
that subject, my dear. We 
haven’t a lot of time before the 
ship comes, and I want to talk 
about something sensible.” 
“Sensible? But — Oh, well all 

“Fine.” Tomcee leaned back 
on his hands. “Now, flattery in 
the animal kingdom is random. 
A newly born flatterer flatters 
the first creature it meets. But 
only human children are allow- 
ed to flatter human beings.” 
“Everybody knows that.” 
“Certainly they do. But my 
point is that according to the 
Arrhenius theory the would-bes 
in a life-spore must be essential- 
ly human, whatever their shape.” 
Bettycee was used to being sat 
upon, pushed around or ignored. 
But for the last hour she seemed 
to have been getting a far greater 
concentration of such treatment 
than usual. Her voice felt as if 
it was going to choke her. “What 
do you mean?” 

“Come, my dear,” said Tom- 
cee rather impatiently. “Surely 
it’s obvious what I mean.” 

“I suppose it is. You really do 
mean that you — you’d let our 
babies and the would-bes in the 
second ship — ?” 

Tomcee nodded, smiling. “I 


feel it would be a great gesture 
of hospitality.” Then he blinked 
at her. “What’s the matter? 
Don’t you Hke the idea?” 

Like the idea? What was the 
matter with him? If there really 
had been a second spaceship 
goodness knows what the would- 
be flattered-ones on board might 
have been. Things with three 
heads, perhaps, or tentacles. And 
he would actually have taken ad- 
vantage of the innocence and 
helplessness of his own children 
to let them flatter the horrors 
and turn into — well, just any- 
thing ! 

Suddenly everything seemed 
to hit Bettycee at once. All the 
years of quarrel, quarrel, quar- 
rel. Then the men taking things 
out of the Ship, and Bettyaye’s 
silly, spiteful trick. And finally 
this suggestion from the man 
she loved and admired. The 
choking sensation was worse 
than ever now, and something 
seemed to burn inside her. Some- 
how she found herself on her 
feet, with no clear idea how she 
got there. Why! She thought 
with surprise, this is how Betty- 
aye feels all the time. And it’s 
— no, not nice exactly. But satis- 

She glared down at her hus- 
band, and forced herself to speak 
gaily. “Why, whatever made you 
think I didn’t like the idea?” she 
said. “It’s grand. You go ahead 

and do it as soon as you get the 
chance.” And she turned and 
ran away from him. 

Naturally, being Bettycee, 
now that she had made a move 
of her own and improved Betty- 
aye’s plan beyond measure, she 
had not run more than a hun- 
dred yards before she found her- 
self wishing that something 
would happen that would put a 
stop to the whole thing. 

In her present mood, though, 
it would have seemed the most 
incredible thing in the universe 
that any wish of hers should be 
granted. So when it happened 
she simply did not realize it. She 
was conscious only of a loud 
thrumming sound that seemed to 
come from far overhead. Ignor- 
ing it, she ran on. 


T>y the time she got back to 
Bettyaye and Bettybee the 
new feeling that Tomcee had in- 
voked had left her completely. 
She listened meekly and con- 
tritely while Bettybee comment- 
ed sniffily about many hands 
making light work. She cringed 
while Bettyaye snapped agree- 
ment, and then demanded per- 
emptorily, “Just what have you 
been up to?” 

“I — I’ve only been talking to 
Tomcee,” said Bettycee. Then 
she added hastily, “Oh, no, I 



haven’t given anything away. In 
fact I might have improved 
things.” And she spilled out the 
story of her husband’s sugges- 
tion and her reply. 

Bettyaye seemed almost molli- 
fied. “Oh, well, that’s all right. 
I suppose. Anyway, Bettybee and 
I have got the dome free so that 
you can get it to the top of the 
hill on your own. Now we two 
will go round and talk to the 
men. When you are ready push 
the dome up to where they can 
see it, and then come down to 
them and announce yourself as 
a would-be and — ” 

Bettycee was still wishing fer- 
vently that something would 
happen to stop all this. Vaguely, 
too, she was wishing what she 
had wished so often before, that 
something — anything — would 
stop Bettyaye talking. 

Yet even now, when both 
wishes were granted simultane- 
ously, she was not aware of it 
at first. She only knew that sud- 
denly her ears were being tor- 
tured by a thunderous roar, and 
that a circular patch of light 
was leaping at an impossible 
speed across the land. 

Ohe reached the shelter of 
^ the nearest bush in the 
same fraction of a second as the 
other two women, and cowered 
with them for the heart-thud’s 
time that the monstrous shadow 

took to pass over. But when th« 
roar ceased abruptly she was the 
first on her feet, the first tfl see 
the brand-new spaceship that 
had landed on this side of New 
York, its sparkling observation 
dome raised high above the brow 
of the hill, where the men would 
plainly see it from the other side. 

Her initial reaction was a 
lightening heart. It was real! It 
had actually come! Tomcee was 
right and Bettyaye was wrong, 
wrong, wrong! 

That lady was not disposed to 
admit the fact so easily. She 
crawled out from under the bush 
took one look, and whimpered, 
“It’s a trick the men are playing. 
It’s got to be.” 

Bettybee sat up and blinked. 
“Seeing’s believing. The proof of 
the pudding is in the eating.” 

Bettycee looked down at them. 
Seeing Bettyaye humiliated like 
this had done something to her. 
Somehow her chest seemed to be 
ten times its usual size, though 
she wasn’t flattering a thing ex- 
cept her normal self. And the 
feeling that surged through her 
now wasn’t even Bettyayish. It 
was something bigger, stronger 
and better. 

“Get up,” she said. 

Bettyaye gaped at her. 

Bettybee shivered and crouch- 
ed lower “Discretion is the bet- 
ter part of valor.” 



“I don’t care what part it is,” 
she said. “Bettyaye, Tomcee 
and my family are in danger 
Now we’ve got to find out wheth- 
er it’s Somebody or a would-be 
in that ship. And if it’s a would- 
De we’ve got to keep it from 
meeting the men until it’s been 
found by a wild flatterer.”" 

She turned and set off across 
Berlin, not bothering to look be- 
hind her. Bettybee followed im- 
mediately. Bettyaye hesitated, 
but not for long. 

The spaceship, when you got 
close to it, was a crude, raw- 
looking thing compared with the 
original one. There were no 
pretty-colored lichens growing 
out of its seams, no delicate 
purple and primrose ivies trail- 
ing over it. And its surface was 
just harsh, glaring metal with- 
out a single streak of warm, 
brown encrustation. 

The three women hid them- 
selves in a small clump of trees 
to watch; flattering a few 
branches and leaves to give them- 
selves extra cover. After a sec- 
ond or two a round hole opened 
in the side of the ship and some- 
thing came out. Or, more ac- 
curately, some Thing came out 


Tt didn’t have three heads, 
and there were no tentacles; 
but the very subtlety of its freak- 

ishness made it the more horrify- 
ing. In a lumpish sort of way it 
was shaped like a man. Two 
arms, two legs, a head. But it 
was nearly two inches too short 
for a true human male, and its 
coloring was utterly, revolting- 
ly wrong. Blue eyes and bright 
red hair. 

As the Thing walked away 
from the ship there was a crack- 
ling sound, and a blue light 
flowed all around it. The grass 
at its feet steamed, then flamed, 
but the Thing walked on un- 

The Thing started to walk 
away from the ship. As it did so 
Bettycee, partly recovered from 
her shock at its appearance, no- 
ticed a metal plate strapped to 
its shoulder. Ancestral memory 
flashed the word “radio” to her, 
but she had no idea wh»* it 
meant. Suddenly the plate spoke. 

“We’d better test the shock- 

The Thing answered grumpily 
from its mouth. “Do you have to 
test it every single time we 

“It’s there,” said the plate, 

“For a purpose I like. To bum 
the ears off any bug predator 
that takes a fancy to wander in 
to the ship. And since regula- 
tions say it’s to be tested, tested 
it’s going to be.” 

The Thing’s mouth said, “I’ve 
got a feeling that if ever one of 



these tests fail it’ll be the pro- 
tective suit that doesn’t work, 
not the field.” 

As it spoke there came a crack 
ling sound and a blue light flow- 
ed up and out, enclosing the ship 
like an umbrella-top. Where the 
light touched the ground the 
grass steamed, then flamed. But 
the Thing just walked on. 

Betty whimpered, “What a 
nasty way for a spaceship to be- 

“It didn’t hurt the would-be, 
anyway,” said Bettycee. 

Having seen the Thing she put 
all thought of Somebody and his 
watt out of her mind. “Now,” 
she said, “flatter up all the ugly 
things you can think of and — 

Her stomach felt as if it were 
flattering a big stone and drop- 
ping right out of her. Tomaye 
and Tombee were coming over 
the top of the hill already, be- 
fore she had had time to scare 
the would-be away, or anything! 
Almost she reverted to the old 
Bettycee, but she made herself 
keep calm. At least Tomcee 
wasn’t here yet. 

The Thing began babbling 
nonsense out of its mouth. “Hu- 
manoids, you said. These people 
are genuine humans, or I’ve nev- 
er seen any.” 

The metal plate said, “Looks 
like it. But — I don’t know. Go 

Tomaye stopped in front of 
the Thing. “Welcome, would- 
be,” he said formally. 

“Well — uh — hello,” said the 
Thing from its mouth. 

“That’s a known scientific 
fact,” said Tombee. 

“Uh — is it?” The Thing 
dropped its voice. “They talk 
galacspeak. They must be hu- 
man. But something’s screwy.” 
“Yeah,” said the plate. “Watch 
out about a hundred yards to 
your left. Three females coming 
out of some trees.” 

"Dettycee *was rather sur- 
” prised. She didn’t see how 
the plate knew, since it didn’t 
have any eyes. She stopped just 
clear of the trees, and extended 
an arm to hold the other two 
women back. Until she found out 
where Tomcee was and what he 
was up to it was difficult to know 
what to do for the best. 

Tomaye said to the Thing 
cheerfully, “Don’t worry. You 
won’t have long to wait.” 

“That’s — ” began Tombee. 
“You, I know,” said the 
Thing’s mouth. “That’s a known 
scientific fact.” 

Tombee looked nonplussed. 
The plate said, “I’m beginning 
to remember something. How 
well did the hypno-course on 
space-history take on you?” 
“Not too well,” said the mouth. 
“Nor on me. But I recall that 



back in the early days there was 
a wreck out this way somewhere. 
A married couple. Their pictures 
struck me when I learned about 
them what a well-matched pair 
they must have been. He was an 
out-planet ecologist and a 
thorough agnostic. She was a 
fundamentalist, out to bring the 
message to any new races that 
might be around.” 

The Thing’s mouth chuckled. 
“Nice recipe for a happy mar- 
riage. You reckon these are their 
descendants, degenerated into 

“Maybe. But — watch out. 
Here comes another one.” 

Bettycee had been trying to 
make sense of the Thing’s queer 
duo-monologue. Now she gave 
up. Tomcee was coming over the 
top of New York. He was hold- 
ing his arms straight out in front 
of him, and his hands were 

Bettycee’s heart warmed for 
him so fiercely that she nearly 
sobbed. So that was why he had 
not been with Tomaye and Tom- 
bee. His time had come upon 
him. And she had not been there, 
and oh! she should have been. 
When a man first becomes a 
mother he needs above all to 
have his wife by his side. 

She stretched her neck a little 
so that she could look into his 
hands. There they were, the little 
darlings! Two of them, writhing 

their sweet green heads forward, 
blindly seeking something to 
flatter in the manner of babies 
since time began. 

Bettybee said abruptly, “As 
the twig is bent the tree will 


nphe words pierced the warm 
-*■ glow of fatherhood that had 
been enveloping Bettycee and 
brought her back to reality 
again. She remembered with a 
swift surge of horror just why 
Tomcee was here. Fear almost 
choked her for the moment, and 
then she forced out a scream. 

“No! No, Tomcee darling. 
Please don’t.” 

He turned his head and blink- 
ed at her in surprise. “But I 
must, my dear. Remember, I 
didn’t only make the promise to 
you, but to this poor, stray 
would-be as well. Have we the 
right to deprive it of its high 
destiny now?” 

The Thing had fallen back a 
couple of steps, and had been 
jerking its head from side to side 
as she and her husband spoke. 
Tomcee stepped towards it, arms 

Bettycee screamed again. She 
knew «he could not possibly get 
there in time. Tomcee ’s babies 
were already lifting themselves 
up out of their mother’s hands 
But despairingly, using every 
ounce of herself that she could 



spare, she swept upwards on 
enormous legs and leaped for- 

The Thing screeched from its 
mouth and yelled from its plate. 
“So that’s it!’’ And it jabbed a 
hand into its clothing and jerked 
out a metal tube. Something flat- 
tered thunder, and — 

And then the universe went 
utterly, utterly mad. Madder 
than it had gone when the sec- 
ond ship turned up. Madder 
even than it had gone when that 
pseudo- human abortion had 
walked out of it. For, abruptly, 
one by one, everybody began to 
stop being there. Or, more ac- 
curately, they began to be every- 
where at once. 

TT'irst poor Tomcee and his 
-*■ children went, great gobs 
of them flying outwards, and 
spattering all over New York. 
Then Tomaye followed, and 
Tombee, and Bettyaye and 
Bettybee — 

Bettycee had never seen such 
a thing happen to anybody be- 
fore, but instinctively she knew 
it must be quite unpleasant. Sud- 
denly she was feeling more Bet- 
tyayish than ever she had. In 
mid-leap she switched substance 
from her legs to her arms. The 
thunder-flattering tube had fin- 
ished with everyone else and 
was rising towards her. She 
snatched it and tossed it behind 

her, then whipped out an arm 
to cord-like proportions and 
wound it round and round the 

“You — you beast!” she pant- 
ed. “Why did you do that? You 
don’t deserve to be flattered at 

The Thing’s mouth began to 
scream. “Help! It’s disarmed me. 
Turn the ship’s guns on both of 
us before it changes me!” 

The plate said, “Don’t panic, 
you fool. It’s an adult. Only an 
unchanged young one can take 
you over.” 

Bettycee took no notice of the 
noise. Now that she had got the 
Thing she wasn’t quite sure what 
she wanted to do with it, but an 
inherent sense of justice made 
her feel that it ought to have 
something nasty happen to it af- 
ter the way it had treated every- 
body else. With her spare arm 
she flattered the claws of a war- 
rior beetle, and gave its nose a 
quick pinch. 

Its mouth yelled, “Hell! It’s 
pulling me to pieces now. Get 
me out of here!” 

The plate said, “All right. I’ll 
lift ship and yank you both up 
to me with the anti-grav. The 
shock-field will shake the brute 
off, and you’ll be safe inside your 
protective suit.” 

“Fine. Only hurry up.” 

It was a shock to Bettycee 
when suddenly the ground start- 




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ed to fall away beneath her. But 
she refused to let it show. “You 
needn’t think you’re going to 
frighten me into letting you go 
by playing silly tricks like this,” 
she told the Thing crossly. 

“No?” said the Thing’s mouth 
as they sailed upwards. “You 
wait till you get a billion watts 
of shock-field burning you up! 
You’ll let go.” 

“I won’t,” said Bettycee. 

And then she stopped, uncon- 
sciously tightening her grip. 
“What did you say?” 

The Thing seemed to be get- 
tiny into a panic again now. 
“Hell, don’t crush me to death. 
I didn’t mean it — I mean — ” 
Bettycee shook it to calm it. 
“Stop blethering. You said some- 
thing about a billion watts.” 
“Yeah, sure. But — ” 

Bettycee gave a little squeal, 
and blanked her mind to the 
Thing’s sputtering. I must be 
steady, she warned herself. I 
mustn’t build my hopes up too 
high, or it will be such a let- 
down if I turn out to be wrong. 
But after all, the only reason we 
thought this Thing couldn’t be 
him was because it is so ugly. 
Yet, if you come to think of it, 
Original -Tom never said he 
would be nice-looking. 

T^vesperately she tried to 
check. One — how did it 
go? One, three — or was it five? 


— It was no use. Generations of 
being able to flatter up as many 
fingers as you liked had made 
counting forever a last art. 

Bettycee shook the Thing 
again. “Tell me the truth. Are 
you really Somebody, or aren’t 

“S — somebody? What the 
heck do you mean?” 

“The billion watts. Is a billion 
a big enough number?” 

“Big enough — ?” 

“Big enough to include num- 
ber four, stupid!” 

The Thing, white-faced, gaped 
at her as if it had lost its senses. 
‘Well, sure it is. But — ” 

“Then you are Somebody,” in- 
terrupted Betty, squealing with 
delight. “Oh! how marvelous. 
But why — ?” 

At that moment they hit the 
shock-field. The blue light half 
blinded Bettycee, and the burn- 
ing hurt more than she had ex- 
pected; but when it was over she 
forgot it. Falling Earthwards she 
had to flatter a ’chute-seed so 
that she could land safely, of 
course; but she had enough of 
herself left over for a tiny voice- 
box with which to croon happily 
as she went down. 


A s she dropped the last hun- 
** dred feet the Thing sat in 
the ship far above her, facing a 


slightly larger Thing as mon- 
strously shaped and colored as 
itself. “Imitators!” it was saying 
angrily. “And you tell me the 
Council will only put the planet 
off limits? It ought to be dusted 

The larger Thing spoke, odd- 
ly, in a voice just like the one 
that had come from the smaller 
ones plate. “Not worth the both- 
er,” it said. “They’re no men- 

“No menace? When they can 
imitate a man exactly, know ev- 
er ything that’s in his brain?” 

“Only occasionally, when a 
once-in-a-thousand-years ship- 
wreck happens. And they soon 
lose the start that gives them.” 


“Yes. Any human — or fake 
human — brain forgets things 
and falsifies memories. When 
the imitators breed their young, 
with no more humans around to 
copy, imitate their parents, tak- 
ing over the distorted memories 
just as they are. Then they go 
through life adding further al- 
terations, and pass them on in 

“I see.” 

“Sure. And that’s not all of it. 
While the memories are going, 
character traits are going too by 
the same process. If a number of 
imitators copy the same man 
they start off alike. But after a 
few generations you have a 

group of differing individuals, 
one or two facets of the origi- 
nal’s character.” 

The smaller Thing nodded, 
and exhaled noisily. “Oh well, 
that’s a relief.” 

nphe ship went on and on. As 
it entered its second light- 
year out from Earth, Bettycee 
relaxed against the bole of the 
tree from which she was ingest- 
ing bark and looked round at 
the rest of the human race. 

She wasn’t quite herself again 
yet; but most of her was there. 
The others had done their best 
to pull themselves together as 
well, but large chunks of them 
had been blown too far away. 
Each of them was going to have 
to do quite a lot of eating before 
he or she could return to human 
form all at once. 

“All right,” said Bettycee di- 
dactically, continuing a discus- 
sion that had been going on ever 
since she got back to Earth. “It’s 
agreed then that the body of our 
knowledge be called Scientific 
Beliefs, or Believer’s Science.” 
Bettyaye had been concentrat- 
ing on being a mouth and stom- 
ach and one small ear. Now she 
stopped gulping in the grass 
long enough to flatter up a 
voice-box. “The word Believers 
should be first.” 

“For women,” said Bettycee. 
“Believer’s Science for women, 



Scientific Beliefs for men. And 
both sets of knowledge to be ex- 
actly the same. Now, about the 
Arrhenius theory — ” 

Tomaye had found himself a 
wriggly-ants nest. The speaking- 
tongue that he flattered up quiv- 
ered in sympathy with its hunt- 
ing companion. “Ar — Arrhen- 
ius unassailable — c — can’t per- 
mit — modifications — ” 

Tombee, wrapped around a 
piece of tree-stump that was 
really too large for him to con- 
sume in his present size, said, 
“Thas non scient’ficfac.” 

Bettycee said, “Don’t argue, 
please. I was the one who met 
Somebody, and he gave me a bil- 
lion watts. A billion includes 
number four. And you all know 
what getting number four 

Everybody fell silent. Al- 
though nobody had wanted to 
think about it much in the old 
days the ancestral memory was 
still there, bright and clear. 

After Original-Betty had been 
flattered, Original-Tom had 
gone on indulging in love-play, 
darting away here and there pre- 
tending it did not want to be 
caught. Finally the three who 
had founded the male side of 
the human race had got it cor- 
nered. It had stood still, trem- 
bling ecstatically in anticipation. 

“So that’s it,” it had said. 
“What my wife would inevitably 


have called the sincerest form 
of flattery, I suppose.” It had 
sighed. “Funny. I’d become re- 
signed to the fact that arguments 
between Betty and me would 
never finish while we were alive. 
But I did think they’d end when 
we died. Now I suppose they 
will go on and on until Somebody 
comes and gives you creatures 
watt four — ” 

Tomaye’s voice, though still 
jerky, was almost humble. “All 
r — right. W — what is the Sci- 
entific Belief about the Ar — 
Arrhenius theory?” 

“Space is filled with life- 
spores pushed outwards by rays 
of light,” said Bettycee. “But 
space is small enough for there 
to be only two spores, the one 
that founded the human race and 
the one that brought Somebody.” 
“And if another spaceship 

“Then we’ll run away and 

U nimaginably far away, the 
smaller of the two Things 
in the ship was making fine ad- 
justments to a series of vernier 
dials beneath a large screen. Sud- 
denly a picture of the human 
race sprang into being. The 
Thing counted. 

“All there,” it said. “Bits of 
them, anyway. Oh. well. Since 
they’re harmless I don’t begrudge 
it to them.” 


Back on Earth, Tomcee snug- 
gled up to his wife, cooing softly. 
Since he had taken the first, di- 
rect shot it would be many, many 
meals before he and his children 
could do much else but snuggle 
and coo. But his action was 
enough to remind Bettycee that 
there were other things for a 
leader to do besides recodifying 

“Now, about children,” she 

“Children?” said Bettyaye. 

Bettycee nodded. “Some of us 
can only talk in certain ways, 
some of us talk too much, and 
some of us only want to argue. 
But there’s one thing we can all 
do. We can all think wise and 
beautiful thoughts if we try. In 
future, any children that are 
born will not be allowed to flat- 
ter their parents immediately. 
They will be held off until their 
father and mother are quite, 
quite sure they are thinking the 
wisest and most beautiful 
thoughts they possibly can.” 

Despite his limited resources 
Tomcee managed one word. 

“Yes,” said Bettycee compla- 
cently. “And I’m going to think 
of lots more ways of making 
things nice, too.” 

Up till now Bettybee had been 

concentrating wholly on a tasty 
piece of fern-root, leaving dis- 
cussion to others. This oppor- 
tunity, though, was too good to 
miss. Hastily she began the nec- 
essary conversion. 

Aloft in the ship the picture 
on the screen was beginning to 
shrink and fade. The smaller 
Thing leaned closer to peer at 
it. “You know,” it said, “Even 
now those brutes must remem- 
ber something of the old quar- 
rels. Wonder what sort of a life 
they are making for themselves 
these days?” 

F ar below Bettycee repeated 
herself dreamily. “Lots 
and lots of more ways of mak- 
ing things nice.” 

Bettybee finished her new flat- 
tering. Hastily she appraised her 
fresh resources. Tongue, vocal 
cords, lungs. Yes, they were all 
there. Happily she gave forth. 
“And then,” she chortled, “And 
then they all lived happily for 
ever and ever after. Yippee.” 
The larger Thing scratched its 
chin thoughtfully. “What sort of 
a life those brutes are leading 
now?” it said. "I don’t suppose 
we shall ever find out.” 

And alas! poor Things, they 
never did. — J .W. GROVES 






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